This study examines the clear difference of men and women enrolling in theatre acting and film acting programs in post secondary institutions. This research team noticed a visible difference in the number of females and males in performing arts programs at the post secondary level, leading us to question whether or not these programs and professions were considered more suitable for one gender than another. With no previous research on this specific topic, we set out to find as much as we could in surrounding areas of research, leading us to similar studies on how children perceive gender (Patterson, 2012) and exactly what it meant when one assumed a profession to be meant for exclusively for one gender (Cejka, 1999). Our hypothesis was that theatre acting would be considered vastly more feminine than film acting, which would be considered a more masculine profession. In testing through both surveys and interviews conducted with participants of the general public and our own social circles. Our mix of qualitative and quantitative data proved our hypothesis correct, though not to the extent we had expected.
We decided on this research topic as a group after having been assigned the category of gender and sexuality. I had mentioned to my group that I had seen a significantly lower number of men in the theatre program at my high school, and this trend only seemed to continue as I reached post secondary. My colleagues agreed and stated their own experiences of either playing a character of a different gender in plays they had been in, or watching a play and seeing a clear difference between the number of men and women on stage. This brought us to consider why this might be the case. Why are there so few men in theatre? I then brought up how, being a film student, there never seems to be a shortage of male actors for our films. My colleagues agreed that this was strange and there was a clear disconnect between the two sides of the same coin. Since none of us could answer why this may be, we found it an excellent place to begin our research.
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