The creators of the critically acclaimed animated shows “Dora the Explorer” and “Muppet Show” were on the receiving end of harsh criticism from the media, according a new Pew Research Center survey.
The report, released Wednesday, also found that a majority of the top 100 most-viewed videos on YouTube contained “women characters” at least some of the time, while a significant minority of the videos were about “people of color” or “people with disabilities.”
“It’s a reflection of the fact that the most popular shows are those that appeal to young boys and that are rated for kids, but the more we learn about what’s happening with gender inequality in the media and in our society, the more the media needs to do more to address it,” said Laura Olin, Pew’s director of digital research.
The results of the study are based on more than 1,000 videos that have been watched by 1.3 billion people over the past six months, which is a large enough sample size to include videos on all but the most prominent channels, including Nickelodeo’s “The Simpsons” and MTV’s “Family Guy.”
Olin said the findings are particularly notable because “there are so many examples of women in popular culture.”
“We know from other data that shows that men are the ones who consume the most content, and that shows in the video data as well.
And so these results really show that the gender gap is really getting bigger,” Olin said.
The study found that the top 10 most-shared videos of 2016 on YouTube were:”Dora The Explorer,” “Muppets Most Wanted,” “Family Man,” “Robot Chicken,” “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective,” “Frozen,” “Rick and Morty,” “The Boondocks,” “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” “Dork Squad,” “Gossip Girl,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Porky Pig,” “My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic,” “Sesame Street,” “Happy Endings,” “Kramer vs. Kramer,” “Scrubs,” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” “Modern Family,” “Cheers,” “Big Bang Theory,” “Mad Men,” “Nashville,” “Two and a Half Men,” and “How I Met Your Mother.”
“This shows us that when you have a gender imbalance in a lot of places, it’s really hurting the bottom line for the creators and for the audiences,” Oins said.
In a separate study, the Pew Research team found that “The Big Bang Theory” had the most-hated female characters among the top-10 most-watched shows.
The findings come as YouTube is working to tackle the issue of gender inequality, with the launch of a new diversity report earlier this year.
In January, the company introduced a “Women in Television” program that aims to increase diversity in its programming, including in programming like “The Mindy Project,” “Girls,” and its sister show “Scandal.”
YouTube has also launched a series of “Boys Only” channels, in which young boys are given access to content they would find only girls on the internet.