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Mission Impossible: the Hollywood Gender Gap



Tom Cruise turned 56 this year. What do you think is the age of his love interest in the movie Mission Impossible: Fallout?


Rebecca Ferguson is 34.


That's a - 22 year difference.


It's not unusual for Cruise's films.  Last year, journalist Meg Shields did an interesting analysis using the IMDB movie site.  In a somewhat informal effort to demonstrate that men in Hollywood movies can continue to age and still get roles in films, the same cannot be said for women. Tom continues to age while his co-stars somehow stay about the same age. Thus, the Hollywood Gender Gap.


I created an assignment you may wish to share/modify with your students.  The assignment includes a modification of Shield's data (As Tom Cruise Gets Older, His On-Screen Love Interests Stay the Same Age) with the addition of data from Mission Impossible: Fallout.


In the WebAssign assignment I ask students some general questions about correlations and then they are asked to create a scatterplot and calculate the exact correlation. Feel free to modify it.  I'm sure this will spark some interest among your students.


The assignment is public within WebAssign. Search for assignment ID: 13401015.



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Cover image by Patrick Feller.