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article imageMen speak most of the lines in Disney movies

By Tim Sandle     Feb 1, 2016 in Entertainment
Disney animated adventures, even those which feature a strong female protagonist, have most of the lines spoken by male actors.
The inquiry into male speakers being over-represented in Disney movies has come from a study by two linguists: Carmen Fought and Karen Eisenhauer. The researchers, The Independent reports, looked at the following Disney movies for lines of dialogue spoken by men and women, and they found:
Pocahontas (1995): 76 percent of the lines are spoken by male actors;
Mulan (1998): 77 percent of the lines are spoken by male actors;
Beauty and the Beast: 71 percent of the lines are spoken by male actors;
Frozen (2013): 71 percent of the lines are spoken by male actors;
The Little Mermaid (1989): 68 percent of the lines are spoken by male actors.
The biggest recorded tally of male dominance is reserved for Aladdin. Here 90 percent of dialogue is uttered by men. Data was taken from the cinemetrics database.
While more recent Disney movies appear to downplay the role of female characters (even where a female character is central to the picture) this was not always the case. Going back to the days when gender equality was less advanced, to 1937 with Snow White, this movie had the dialogue divided evenly between male and female actors. In addition, 1950's Cinderella and 1959's Sleeping Beauty gave the majority of the lines to women (even with the latter where the main character is asleep for a sizable proportion of the film).
Interviewed by the Washington Post, Carmen Fought outlined why she thinks these findings are important. This centers on gender-role stereotyping: "There are no women leading the townspeople to go against the Beast, no women bonding in the tavern together singing drinking songs, women giving each other directions or women inventing things. Everybody who’s doing anything else, other than finding a husband in the movie, pretty much, is a male."
The preliminary data has been presented at the Linguistic Society of America's annual meeting, which took place in January 2016.
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