The Stars: Sexism in Cinema?

Dean Keith Simonton

in Great Flicks

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780199752034
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199894857 | DOI:
The Stars: Sexism in Cinema?

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Actors represent the most conspicuous contributors to cinematic impact. Yet in studying their relation to a film’s success, it is essential to distinguish gender. Female actors have a very different status in film art and business than do male actors. This distinction is demonstrated by looking at differences in income, careers, characters, and kudos. Not only do female stars earn much less than their male counterparts, but they have much shorter careers in the limelight. Moreover, stark gender differences appear in the characters portrayed, especially as the performers advance in age. Gender contrasts also emerge in both critical acclaim and movie awards. Particularly striking is the “Meryl Streep Effect” in which outstanding acting performances by women are far more likely to be ghettoized in less than top-notch films.

Keywords: actors; gender; income; careers; characters; awards; meryl streep effect

Chapter.  8831 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social Psychology

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