Marginalized Communities are Underrepresented as Creative Contributors

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We investigate the socially inferred gender and racial/ethnic identities of influential creative artists in four domains. Women make up 51% of the U.S. population but are underrepresented in contemporary art (28%), fashion (45%), box office film (27%), and popular music (17%). Marginalized racial/ethnic groups make up 39% of the U.S. population yet comprise approximately half that figure in contemporary art (22%), fashion (22%), and film (19%). Black musical artists have higher representation (48%), though higher representation does not equate with equity and inclusion. As for intersectional identity, white men are overrepresented in all four domains by factors ranging from 1.4 to 2 as compared to the U.S. population, and most other gender-racial/ethnic groups are further minoritized. Our study is the first comprehensive, comparative, empirical look at intersectional identity across creative fields. The exclusion of marginalized individuals, including those who are women, American Indian / Alaska Native, Asian, Black, Latinx, and Native Hawaiian / Pacific Islander, is severe. The lack of self-expressed demographic data is a challenge, as is the erasure of certain identity groups from the American Community Survey, including agender, gender noncomforming, nonbinary, and transgender individuals. These are challenges that, if addressed, would enhance our collective understanding of diversity in creative fields. Efforts taken by executives, influencers, and other power brokers to make creative fields more diverse, equitable, and inclusive would amplify the many well-documented benefits of art to individuals and to society.

Topaz, C. M., Higdon, J., Epps-Darling, A., Siau, E., Karkhoff, H., Mendiratta, S., & Young, E. (2022, January 10). Marginalized Communities are Underrepresented as Creative Contributors.

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