The Silent 17%

It’s 1947. Hollywood, California is thriving–WITH CRIME! Lots and lots of crime. You are Cole Phelps, recently returned home from WWII and new member of the LAPD. You and your fellow male officers solve traffic, homicide, vice, and arson cases. There are no women on the force because it is 1947 and they all went peacefully back to the kitchen after working in the factories while you were away fighting for your country.

Wait a moment.

According to Cara Ellison inΒ her article on Past Magazine, the first woman police officer in the US, Alice Stebbins, was appointed in 1910 in the LAPD. According to Ellison, women take up only 17% of the roles we see on stage and screen. She cited a report from the Annenberg School at the University of Southern California that said only 28% of last year’s speaking roles in movies we female. Ellison references an NPR interview with Geena Davis explaining that media vastly under represents females. Β Davis quoted a study that found “if there’s 17 percent women, the men in the group think it’s 50-50. And if there’s 33 percent women, the men percieve that as there being more more in the room than men.”

I’ve played LA Noire, the main game which Ellison’s article analyzes. LA Noire was not devoid of female parts. Well–actually–looking back–there weren’t a lot of speaking female roles. There were some witnesses–who I was usually done talking to within a minute or two. I have racked my brain trying to think of all the main female characters. There was Elsa Lichtman–but she’s a morphine addict, sex symbol, mistress, and doesn’t have many lines outside of shaking her hips. I recalled other names like Jessica Hamilton, a 15 year old rape victim, who, in terms of the total dialogue for the case–doesn’t say much; Deirdre Moller, who is dead when you meet her so not much talking there either; Julia Randall, dead; Evelyn Summers, dead; Candy Edwards, eventually dead.