2 min

Analysing gender aspects in films

Second-Screen-App for researchers

Analysing gender aspects in films
St. Pölten UAS
Copyright: Martin Lifka Photography

The research group Media Creation at St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences in cooperation with Karin Berghammer Film Production, has developed an app with which one can analyse the representation of men and women in films according to gender aspects.

The app enables one to evaluate gender-sensitive aspects of a film, a series or an advertisement using a second-screen-application. The app is aimed at researchers who want to study the topic of gender in the field of moving pictures.

Detecting stereotypes and sexist role models

By means of the Gender Watch App, the audience perception of a film figure can be tracked and evaluated over the entire length of a film. Gender-specific questions about the representation of men and women in films, series and advertising or about polarizing “genedersujets” in individual scenes can be visualized on the basis of the data obtained. 

"Individuals can submit evaluations of the individual characters in a programme in which the roles are stereotyped or presented in a sexist way. On the basis of the data obtained, it is traceable in which situation a role model is strengthened or whether it changes during the course of the action", explained Rosa von Suess, head of the project as well as the research group Media Creation at the Institute of Creative\Media/Technologies at St. Pölten UAS.

How the app works

For the evaluation, people use a mobile terminal (tablet) with a Gender Watch App installed. When they are shown a film, they can assign specific attributes to the film characters in real-time on the tablet.

At any given time, people can select from a set of predefined characteristics and assign a quality that best describes how they perceive a particular character at the current time of the action. Evaluation criteria and characters are defined in advance for a specific film.

"The advantage is that in real-time individual characters can be evaluated in specific scenes. This gives you a much more accurate picture than if you were to ask viewers of the film afterwards about their overall impression", said von Suess.

Playful approach and prototype

The app provides a visual feedback of your own assessment in direct comparison to the overall assessment by several people. In order to make the evaluation playful and entertaining, a “gamification-approach” was used as a basis and strategy for the design of the app. In the project, a 32-page clickable PDF prototype was created to make the app interactive and to develop it further.

The Gender Watch App was developed together with the Austrian director and producer Karin Berghammer, who is also on the board of directors of the "fc gloria" association, which is committed to the artistic, economic, legal, social and political interests of women in the film industry.

In addition to Rosa von Suess, the development team at St. Pölten UAS included Jennifer Biechele, junior researcher in the research group Media Creation as well as Kerstin Blumenstein, researcher in the Media Computing Research Group at the Institute of Creative\Media/Technologies.


The project was financed by the aws Kreativwirtschaftsförderung.

More about the project (german)