As a person who writes about films and sees lots of critics at screenings I can tell you that men (many boys) dominate the critic ranks. Dr. Martha Lauzen, the guru of stats and the head of San Diego State's Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film has done a research study analyzing who is writing film reviews. The study, Thumbs Down: The Representation of
Women Film Critics in The Top 100 U.S. Daily Newspapers was released today. Here are some of the highlights (or lowlights).
- Men write the overwhelming majority of film reviews in the nation’s top newspapers. In Fall 2007, men penned 70% and women 30% of all reviews.
- Furthermore, of the newspapers featuring film reviews, 47% had no reviews written by women critics, writers or freelancers. In contrast, only 12% had no reviews written by men critics, writers or freelancers.
- Men outnumbered women in every job title category considered. Seventy seven percent (77%) of film critics were male and 23% were female.
- By genre, romantic comedies and dramas constituted a larger proportion of the reviews written by women than by men.
- Films with women filmmakers comprised a larger proportion of the films reviewed by women than by men. Of the reviews written by women, 22% were for films with at least one woman director or writer. Of the reviews written by men, 14% were for films with at least one woman director or writer.
- A significantly higher percentage of films reviewed by women were for films featuring female protagonists or ensemble casts. Of the reviews written by women, 33% were for films featuring a female protagonist or ensemble cast and 67% were for films featuring a male protagonist. Of the reviews written by men, 18% were for films featuring a female protagonist or ensemble cast and 82% were for films featuring a male protagonist.
So here is the depressing view from Dr. Lauzen: "The bottom line is that film criticism in this country's newspapers remains a largely male enterprise, echoing the heavy male dominance behind the scenes and on screen in the film industry."
Nuff said. Let's get cracking on training some more female critics. Read full report