A new study found that most movie critics are white males, and [loud, low sigh]
As if movies in Hollywood weren’t already dominated by white men both on and off screen, a new study shows that the movie critics in charge of reviewing these very films are even less diverse. Researchers from the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative covered 19,559 reviews from leading U.S. newspapers, websites, and outlets, and found that 82% of reviews of 2017’s top-grossing films were penned by white critics. Meanwhile, writers from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups were only responsible for 18% of reviews of top movies even though they make up 38.7% of the population.
And as if those statistics weren’t disheartening enough, 77.8% of the reviews studied were authored by men, while female critics only wrote 22.2%. That comes out to a ratio of 3.5 male critics to every 1 female writer.
This news doesn’t come as a surprise, of course, but Twitter is demanding change.
In 2016, Meryl Streep pointed out this huge gender disparity when she found out that the lack of female film reviewers is adversely influencing the box office performance of female-centric films.
“I submit to you that men and women are not the same," she said. "They like different things. Sometimes they like the same things, but their tastes diverge. If the Tomatometer is slided so completely to one set of tastes, that drives box office in the U.S., absolutely." And she's right. Even though we're seeing quite an influx of female-fronted and racially diverse films on the silver screen, that doesn't translate to critics who are directly responsible for generating buzz for these movies. Which, if you think about it, is extremely unfair, considering that what these reviewers say can potentially make or break the success of the films and affect their chances of being considered at awards shows like the Oscars. Dr. Stacey Smith, the co-author of the study and founder and director of the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, calls for the industry's publicity teams to grant women critics the same opportunities as their male counterparts. [quote]"The very individuals who are attuned to the under and misrepresentation of females on screen and behind the camera are often left out of the conversation and critiques," she said in a statement. "The publicity, marketing, and distribution teams in moviemaking have an opportunity to change this quickly by increasing the access and opportunities given to women of color as film reviewers."
We all know that Hollywood has a long history of favoring white men over every other group, and we hope that this study paves the way for marginalized factions to get the representation they deserve. Here’s to inclusion and diversity.