Research

Research

ABOUT OUR RESEARCH

The Representation Project is a premier research organization with a focus on gender representations in media. Our research enables content creators to produce more inclusive and diverse worlds on big and little screens. The Rep Project analyzes representations with an intersectional focus on gender, race, disability, age, body size, sexuality, and social class.   

Led by Dr. Caroline Heldman, the team includes expert researchers with over two decades of experience in professional and academic research. Our team designs, implements, analyzes, and creates custom reports on all forms of media representation. We produce proprietary and public-facing sponsored research, as well as our own studies of representations in film, television, video games, advertising, award shows, and other media.


KEY FINDINGS

  • Outstanding Drama Series Winners
    • Only one-in-three (35.4%) Outstanding Drama Series winners center women’s lives.
    • Only 2.3% of  winners feature a lead of color.
    • Only 4.5% of Outstanding Drama Series winners feature a lead with a disability.
    • There has never been a winner that features an Asian, Black, Middle Eastern/North African (MENA), Native American/Pacific Islander, or South Asian lead.
    • No Outstanding Drama Series winner has ever centered the story of an LGBTQ+ lead, a larger woman lead, or a woman lead ages 50+.
  • Outstanding Comedy Series Winners
    • Women leads are underrepresented among Outstanding Comedy Series winners (43.1% compared to 50.8% of women in the US population). 
    • Only 3.3% of winners feature a lead of color.
    • LGBTQ+ leads are well represented among winners compared to the US population (6.5% compared to 4.5%). 
    • There has never been a Outstanding Comedy Series winner that features an Asian, MENA, Native American/Pacific Islander, or South Asian lead. 
    • No Outstanding Comedy Series winner has ever centered the story of a larger woman lead, or a lead with a disability.

Read the full 2021 Emmy Report HERE.


This report examines representations of gender in primetime media coverage of the first week of the 2020 Olympic Games held in Tokyo, Japan (rescheduled to 2021 due to the global pandemic).

MAJOR FINDINGS

  • Women receive 59.1% of screen time in primetime Olympic coverage compared to the global population baseline of 49.6% women.
  • Eight-in-ten Olympic commentators are men (82.0%).
  • Two-thirds of women athletes (69.6%) wear revealing outfits compared to half of men athletes (53.5%).
  • Women athletes are about ten times more likely to be visually objectified with a camera angle than men athletes (5.7% compared with 0.6%).
  • Men athletes are referred to as “male [athlete|sport]” just 2.0% of the time compared with 13.6% for women athletes. This reinforces the idea that men are “real” athletes while women are secondary.
  • Women athletes are seven times more likely to be referred to using a gender diminutive (e.g., “girl”) than men athletes.

Read the full #RespectHerGame Report HERE.


This report examines the current state of media representations in film, television, advertising, video games, and music. More specifically, we analyze data from the past decade on representations of gender, race, age, disability, body size, and sexuality in different media types. This report establishes benchmarks to measure progress and to promote collaboration in the media research space.

This report was produced for the fifth annual State of Media Summit, co-sponsored by the Provincetown Film Society, The Representation Project, and the Center for Intersectional Media and Entertainment (CIME). Participants of the first Summit1 in 2017 generated a White Paper on Gender Inequality in Film and Television, and we expand upon this earlier report.

This State of Media Report combines publicly available data from a number of excellent research organizations, including:

  • The Hollywood Diversity Report, UCLA
  • The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
  • The Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, University of Southern California
  • The Center for the Study of Women in Television & Film, San Diego State University
  • The Writers Guild of America West
  • The Where We are on TV report, Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD)
  • The Representation Project
  • Directors Guild of America

Read the full 2021 State of Media Report HERE.


KEY FINDINGS

  • Only one-in-four (25.8%) Best Picture winners revolve around the life of a woman lead or co-lead.
  • Only 8.9% of Best Picture winners feature stories about the lives of people of color.
  • In nearly a century of Academy Awards, only one film has ever featured an LGBTQ+ lead (Moonlight, 2017).
  • Only 4.8% of winning films feature a lead with a disability.
  • No film featuring an Asian, Black, South Asian, Native American/ Pacific Islander, MENA, lesbian, or larger woman lead/co-lead has ever won an Academy Award for Best Picture.
  • Only one Best Picture film, Driving Miss Daisy (1990), has ever centered the story of a female character over 50.

Read the full Oscar Report HERE.


CONTACT US

For more information on The Rep Project’s research capabilities, download our Capabilities Overview. To request a quote on proprietary research, please contact us at info@therepproject.org or 415-233-4060 x1.