Rogue One was the second Star Wars movie in as many years to boast a female leading. Jyn Erso, leader of the team that stole the Death Star schemes, and Mon Mothma, leader of the Rebel Alliance, devoted is expected to be anyone who believes in gender equality even in a galaxy far, far away.
But according to one data scientist’s analysis, there isn’t all that much for feminists to cheer in the film. In fact, it turns out that Rogue One had fewer female characters( as a percentage of the total) than any other of the top 10 U.S. box office reaches of 2016.
Furthermore, only 17 percentage of the film’s dialogue was spoken by females way below the top movies’ average and Jyn’s supposed sidekick, Captain Cassian Andor, was given more terms to speak than Jyn herself.
If you had the nagging sense that Jyn seems to spend a lot of her screen time in silence, it turns out you were right.
Amber Thomas, a Seattle-based data scientist, examined the transcript of Rogue One alongside the other most-seen movies of last year: Captain America: Civil War , Finding Dory , Zootopia , The Jungle Book , The Secret Life of Pets , Batman v Superman: Dawning of Justice , Deadpool , Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them , and Suicide Squad .
” I went into the movie theatre expecting to see men and women opposing side by side, ” Thomas wrote of Rogue One . “I left feeling certain that I could count every female character from the movie on one hand.
“While Jyn was the main character, I was profoundly aware that she was often the only girl in any scene. It felt strangely familiar to have a lead female character be so outnumbered.”
So she dug into the numbers, employing online transcripts for each cinema. Below is a visual representation of her outcomes; click here for an interactive version.
With only 9% of its speaking roles given to women, Rogue One has the lowest gender equality on the listing.( None of the films made the sorcery 50% mark, though the animated makes Zootopia and Finding Dory both of which also have female leadings arrived close .)
In terms of dialogue, Rogue One isn’t the worst offender on the listing; that dishonor goes to Jungle Book, with only 10% of its dialogue spoken by female characters.
But the Star Wars movie’s dialogue numbers are surely eye-opening. Jyn speaks 1,045 terms; Cassian Andor, her second-in-command on the final battle on countries around the world Scarif, has 1,355.
Much of that would have been altered by Rogue One ‘s reshoots, which appears to have removed some of Jyn’s dialogue in the early scenes, including her phrase constructed famous by the trailers: “this is a Rebellion, isn’t it? I rebel . “
But there’s a disturbing pattern here. Mon Mothma, female leader of the rebellion, has 169 terms. Her supposed underling, General Draven, a human who secretly countermands her order to Captain Andor( “forget what you heard in there, there will be no extraction” ), has 206 words.
The pattern is clear in other films, too. Those who constructed it through Suicide Squad may have assumed that Harley Quinn was the leading; in fact, she speaks half as many terms as lesser character Rick Flag. Like Jyn, she expends a lot of her screen time in silence.
This, then, may be the next frontier for gender representation in films. It may not be enough to simply pass the widely-known Bechdel test having two named female characters conversing on a subject other than a human. ( Rogue One passes the Bechdel test in the first 10 minutes .)
Now it seems we need to tackle society’s unconscious bias that a woman even a hero, even a lead should speak less than a human. After all, Jyn Erso appears to have had more to say before she was effectively muzzled by three male editors.
This is a Rebellion, isn’t it? Let her rebel.