• What’s in a Face? Gender Representation of Faces in Time, 1940s-1990s

      Jofre, Ana; Cole, Josh; Berardi, Vincent; Bennett, Carl; Reale, Michael (Journal of Cultural Analytics, 2020-03-16)
      We extracted 327,322 faces from an archive of Time magazine containing 3,389 issues dating from 1923 to 2014, classified the gender of each extracted face, and discovered that the proportion of female faces contained within this archive varied in interesting ways over time. The proportion of female faces first peaked in the mid-to-late 1940s. This was followed by a dip lasting from the mid-1950s to the early 1960s. The 1970s saw another peak followed by a dip over the course of the 1980s. Finally, we see a slow and steady rise in the proportion of female faces from the early 1990s onwards. In this paper, we seek to make sense of these variations through an interdisciplinary framework drawing on psychology, visual studies (in particular, photography theory), and history. Through a close reading of our Time archive from the 1940s through the 1990s, we conclude that the visual representation of women in Time magazine correlates with attitudes toward women in both the historical context of the era and the textual content of the magazine.