What Our Media Says About What Relationships Our Society Values

I looked at how many titles there are on IMDB (a database of every film and TV show ever made) that include various family relationships. The relationships portrayed in our media are a reflection of what relationships our society values, and, as it turns out, which sex our society values. Father and son are the #1 relationship, followed by husband and wife. Men’s relationships are universally more represented, often by a huge margin, than the equivalent women’s relationships. This is not an accurate reflection either of reality or of the lives of the viewers of movies and television, who are about 50/50 men and women.

The results:

Father Son Relationship: 15,406 titles
Husband Wife Relationship: 14,368 titles
Father Daughter Relationship: 10,500 titles
Mother Son Relationship: 9,670 titles
Mother Daughter Relationship: 8,226 titles
Brother Brother Relationship: 6,344 titles
Boyfriend Girlfriend Relationship: 6,308 titles
Brother Sister Relationship: 6,020 titles
Sister Sister Relationship: 3,200 titles
Uncle Nephew Relationship: 1,333 titles
Cousin Cousin Relationship: 1,306 titles
Aunt Niece Relationship: 936 titles
Grandfather Grandson Relationship: 894 titles
Uncle Niece Relationship: 882 titles
Grandmother Grandson Relationship: 760 titles
Grandmother Granddaughter Relationship: 683 titles
Aunt Nephew Relationship: 680 titles
Grandfather Granddaughter Relationship: 608 titles

Of the parent-child relationships, the relationship between father and son has the most titles, and the relationship between mother and daughter has the fewest titles. The father-son relationship has almost twice the titles of the mother-daughter relationship. Father relationships have 45% more titles than mother relationships (a difference of over 8,000 titles),  and son relationships have 34% more titles than daughter relationships (a difference of over 6,000 titles).

Of the sibling relationships, brother-brother relationships have the most titles, and sister-sister relationships have the fewest titles. There are actually fewer brother-sister titles than there are brother-brother titles, even though in real life there are twice as many brother-sister sibling pairs as there are brother-brother sibling pairs. In real life there are just as many sister-sister sibling pairs as there are brother-brother sibling pairs, but in the movies, there are twice as many titles about brother-brother relationships as there are about sister-sister relationships.

Of the grandparent-grandchild relationships, the relationship between grandfather and grandson has the most titles, and the relationship between grandfather and granddaughter has the fewest titles. There were 4% more titles about grandfathers than about grandmothers, and 28% more titles about grandsons than about granddaughters.

Of the relationships between aunts and uncles and their nieces and nephews, the relationship between uncle and nephew has the most titles, and the relationship between aunt and nephew has the fewest titles. There are 37% more titles about uncles than about aunts, and 11% more titles about nephews than about nieces.

 

 

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