January 21, 2022

Research Tools: New Database Reveals Gender Bias in Movie Scripts

From The Daily (University of Washington):

Researchers in the Natural Language Processing (NLP) group at the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science and Engineering created a database that analyzes the power dynamics between male and female characters in almost 800 movie scripts.

The project was funded by the National Science Foundation, Google, and Facebook.  

“We were frustrated with the way women were portrayed in movies so we started looking for ways to measure and correct for bias,” Maarten Sap, one of the team members, said. 


Their computer model measured narrative arcs and dialogue for male and female characters in about 700 modern screen plays on two scales: power versus submissiveness and agency versus passiveness. Through crowdsourcing, they collected input on the connotation of power and agency for about 2000 verbs. 

Direct to Database: Power and Agency in Modern Films: Character Portrayal Analyses Using Computational Tools

Learn More Read the Complete Article

See Also: New Tool Quantifies Power Imbalance Between Female And Male Characters In Hollywood Movie Scripts  (via U. of Washington)

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.