Increasingly Violent but Still Sexy: A Decade of Central Female Characters in Top-Grossing Hollywood and Bollywood Film Promotional Material

Jannath Ghaznavi, Katherine L. Grasso, Laramie D. Taylor


This study examines the depiction of central female characters (CFCs) in promotional film posters and trailers from top-grossing Hollywood and Bollywood films from 2004 to 2013, focusing on gender stereotypes, sexualization, and aggression. Whereas Bollywood characters tended to be more sexualized, more fit, and less prominent, Hollywood characters appeared more frequently but were increasingly unrealistic. Typically occupying the role of attractive love interests, CFCs tended to display more aggressive behavior over time. Attractive, aggressive CFCs may reinforce and challenge gender role expectations, promoting the “superwoman” ideal. Findings are discussed in terms of objectification, globalization, cultivation, and social cognitive theory.


media effects, content analysis, gender roles, sexualization, aggression

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