According to the latest study from San Diego State University in a report titled “Thumbs Down: Film Critics and Gender, and Why It Matters.”
A month after the University of Southern California, Los Angeles reported a similar dramatic gender gap, SDSU’s Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film found that male film critics were about 2 times as numerous than female critics.
The SDSU studyconducted this spring and published on Tuesday, found that overall, men made up 68% and women 32% of reviewers.
Who cares, you ask? Well, Hollywood in general and Oscar winner Brie Larson in particular. the “Captain Marvel” Star gave a acceptance speech last month for denounce the lack of diversity of film criticsdrawing applause when she said she didn’t need “a white dude to tell me what went wrong for him about ‘(A) Wrinkle in Time.'”
“It wasn’t for him,” Larson said. “I want to know what this movie meant to women of color, biracial women, teenage girls of color, teenage biracial girls. And for the third time, I don’t hate white guys. These are just facts, these are not my feelings.”
It is unclear why men would outnumber women as film critics; writing movie reviews is not as heavy a job as, say, construction work.
But the gender gap matters, says SDSU’s Martha Lauzen, because her study shows it impacts the viewability of films with female leads and/or female directors as well as the nature of reviews.
For example, she says, female critics were more likely than males to mention a female director’s name and exclusively use “positive” comments when writing about her work.
She found that 52% of reviews written by women – but only 38% of those written by men – included only glowing comments about the director, such as “master” or “impresario”.
“Something as simple as mentioning a director’s name in a review and labeling that individual as a ‘master’ of the art of filmmaking can help shape the narrative surrounding that director” , says Lauzen.
The study found that male critics significantly outnumber female critics across all media, from daily newspapers to trade publications such as Variety and The Wrap.com. They also make up the vast majority of those who write film reviews of all genres.
“For example, men write 78% and women 22% of reviews on horror and action movies (and) men write 70% and women 30% of reviews on dramas,” showed the study. Men also make up 69% of science fiction movie reviews, compared to 31% for women.
Also underrepresented: racial and ethnic minorities. Most female reviews, like male reviews, are white (over 80% each), but about 14% of female reviews are minorities while only 9% of male reviews are minorities.
The study looked at 4,111 reviews written by 341 people working for print, broadcast and online media in the spring of 2018 and whose work is included on the Rotten Tomatoes website.
Reviewers were selected using a systematic random sampling method. Only US-based reviewers who wrote at least three reviews in March, April, and May 2018 were included in the study.
The Lauzen center has studied women in film and television for years; the specific study of film critics began in 2007 and has since examined a total of 16,420 reviews written by 919 critics.
Lauzen says “Thumbs Down” is the most comprehensive and lengthy study available on the representation and impact of women as film critics.
In June, USC released its first report on film critics, “Critic’s Choice?”by Stacy Smith, professor of communication and leader of the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative.
This study looked at reviews of the 100 highest-grossing movies of 2017 posted on Rotten Tomatoes — a total of 19,559 reviews — and found that critics are overwhelmingly white and male.
Only 22.2% of rated reviews were written by women, compared to 77.8% by male reviewers. “This represents a male to female ratio of 3.5 males to 1 female rater,” the study found.
The USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative plans to publish two more studies of film reviews, including one looking at differences in review content based on critics’ gender and/or race/ethnicity, and another examining relationships with film critics. box office performance.