September 12, 2008

Review: The Women

Those of you familiar with this site know that I have been very excited about The Women which opens nationwide today. What could be better for a site that celebrates women and Hollywood than a film about women from one of Hollywood's most beloved and outspoken feminists, the creator of Murphy Brown-- Diane English.

I'm sure some of you have seen the press over the last couple of weeks about how it has taken 14 years! for English to make the film, and how having a film targeted at women -- especially those of us over 25, that evil and dreaded fourth quadrant -- has gotten even harder to make. This messianic zeal is common to women directors and it's amazing how she stuck to it for all those years. Here's what English said to her hometown paper Buffalo News:

“The more times people told me to walk away, that it couldn’t be done and it was a fool’s journey, the more committed I became to it. That’s the nature of my personality,” she laughs. “Also, it just felt like an important statement to make that women will go to the movies if we see something that is meaningful to us, if we can see ourselves on the screen, rather than being just the stock characters — the long-suffering wife and the hot girlfriend.
If there weren't such a pathetic lack of films and such a torturous back story, this film's success or failure would have everything to do with what's onscreen and nothing to do with the lack of films for women. But there are many layers to this story, and we do see so few women onscreen so a film like The Women with its star power has gotten a lot of attention especially in the wake of the successes of Sex and the City and Mamma Mia.

The reviews have not been kind to Ms. English. They're all really bad. I agree with lots of what people are saying but personally I did enjoy the film not because it is a good film but in spite of its multitude of shortcomings.

Honestly, this is not well crafted film. The directing is lacking. At times the film felt like a sitcom and that makes perfect sense because that's where English is most comfortable. There are scenes when I felt that the characters were not acting within the same scene. Diane English -- who never even so much directed an episode of Murphy Brown before -- was in some ways forced into the director's chair in order to get it done. I respect and understand her zeal to make the movie but there are plenty of other women directors who are experienced who should of and could have taken on the assignment.

While some people feel the 1939 version of the film is their favorite film ever, others, including readers of this site, think it is incredibly sexist. While I don't love the 1939 version, I do love the premise -- a movie about women, just women. I still wonder why it's such a big deal to see a movie with just women. I mean last year's two top Oscar contenders were movies about men and that was no big deal. I'm just looking for a little diversity in choice.

And speaking of diversity, I really didn't enjoy the portrayal of the two women of color in the film. Eva Mendes plays Crystal Allen the "spritzer girl" who is having an affair with Meg Ryan's husband. Eva's part is small and comes off as a cliche -- the hot Latina. And boy is she hot. How do I know? All the men in the theatre sat up straight and licked their lips during her confrontation scene with Meg Ryan where both are in lingerie. She is underutilized and objectified, but that's I guess that's what you get when you play the other woman.

Jada Pinkett Smith plays a surly lesbian writer who drinks to much and is having issues delivering her second book. She also seems to date gorgeous supermodels who is hysterically seen at a party eating a paper napkin because god forbid she should actually eat some food. And speaking of cliches, poor Deb Messing. She plays the continuously pregnant Edie Cohen. She comes off shrill, annoying and unessential.

Meg Ryan is typical Meg Ryan only with a new face (she's got that new face that NY magazine wrote about). She's wooden with the same hand gestures we've seen in all her previous films. The amazing Bette Midler has a teeny part as a much married Hollywood agent whom Meg meets at a canyon ranch like retreat. Candice Bergen, who I still miss as Murphy Brown, steals every scene she's in as Meg's mom (which she is playing for the 2nd time) even though she would have had to have given birth when she was 15 years old, but hey teen pregnancy is all the rage these days.

Lastly and thankfully, there's Annette Bening who I was honestly so scared to see onscreen because her face on the poster makes it looks like she's had a total face transplant. But I am happy to report that I saw her face move, and Bening is by far the best part of this film. She plays a hard working career woman who never wanted to have kids. Seeing that type of woman onscreen in this baby obsessed world (have you noticed?) is in itself a relief, as is her struggle as an aging woman in the youth obsessed magazine business. Sylvie Fowler is no Miranda Priestley. She is very unsure of herself and her place in society and while she puts on a good face, she's falling apart.

While I still don't understand how all these women are friends and I can't pretend that these women who spend way too much time in Saks (honestly, I'd believe it more if it were Macy's) are at all realistic, I still enjoyed many of the stinging quips English was able to get in about aging and the treatment of women in our culture.

News Briefs

  • The Sydney Theater Company’s forthcoming revival of “A Streetcar Named Desire,” directed by Liv Ullmann and starring Cate Blanchett as Tennessee Williams’ faded Southern rose Blanche DuBois, will travel to the U.S. following its home-base premiere late next year. (Variety)
  • Valerie Bertinelli is plotting a return to the sitcom biz, this time playing a single mother of two. Bertinelli will play a woman who struggles to care for two kids and a lumber business after her husband walks out on her. (Variety)
  • Hilary Swank and producing partner Molly Smith have acquired feature rights to Emily Giffin’s 2005 debut novel, "Something Borrowed," which they’ll develop through their 2S Films banner as a potential starring vehicle for Swank. Story centers on a Manhattan attorney who becomes involved with her best friend’s fiance following her 30th birthday. (Variety)
  • Showtime is hoping to extend the life of its "L Word" franchise with a spinoff starring Leisha Hailey. Ilene Chaiken, creator and exec producer of "The L Word," will write and produce the pilot. Shooting is skedded for December. (Variety)
  • Jamie Babbit will direct "Breaking the Girl." Script by Mark Distefano and Guinevere Turner is described as a sexy thriller set among conniving college students. (Variety)
  • The musical adaptation of 1996 menopausal revenge caper “The First Wives Club” will have its debut engagement July 15 through Aug. 23 at San Diego’s Old Globe prior to a planned Broadway run during the 2009-10 season. (Variety)
  • "Frozen River" writer-director Courtney Hunt has set her next project: the drama "Northline." Hunt will write and direct the film, based on Willy Vlautin's novel. The project centers on a woman who flees Las Vegas and a troubled life with her boyfriend for a new start in Reno, Nev. She also begins to seek comfort via imaginary conversations with Paul Newman. (HR)

September 11, 2008

The Women Behind the Women

Dove is all up in The Women. They are the folks that created the Campaign for Real Beauty with the ads with "real women", have a self-esteem fund for girls and put their money with their mouth is by investing $3 million of the film's $16 million production budget (something they've never done before.)

As part of their campaign to promote The Women, Dove partnered with Jess Weiner, a renowned self-esteem expert and Dove Global Ambassador (if you don't know her, you must check out her site and join her actionist network) to find a young woman to go behind the scenes to ask the actresses and other members of The Women about what constitutes real beauty. We need to do all we can to get young women thinking about beauty in a new way or else they'll all be getting botox at 16.

Cammy Nelson, who has worked with Jess Weiner for five years, was picked and she has an impressive bio for a 40 year old and she's only 16. Here's some of what she's done in her 16 short years: Cammy has travelled the country speaking to students, peer groups and board members about media literacy, self-esteem and eating disorder awareness as a member of Go Girls!, a national nonprofit organization sponsored by Eating Disorders Awareness & Prevention, Inc. (EDAP). Cammy is a also member of PeaceJam, a Nobel-prize nominated foundation established to foster a new generation of young leaders committed to positive change in themselves and their communities. Cammy works alongside her peers to develop more diplomatic programs and actions to help incorporate them into local schools and communities.

I recommend that you check out The Women Behind the Women cause its so rare to see that many women working on all types of jobs on this film (like camera operator) which we know is so rare in the movies.

Cammy answered some questions about what she learned by visiting the set.

Women & Hollywood:What surprised you most about seeing a movie shot?

Cammy Nelson: This was the first time I had ever visited a movie set and I was definitely most surprised by the amount of people involved in creating a film – there were people everywhere! In the past, I had seen "behind-the-scenes" video footage about other movies, but seeing it up close was so much more than I expected. I didn’t realize how much work went into creating my favorite movies.
W&H: What was it like to be at a job where most of the people with responsibilities were women?
CN: While working with a movie called, The Women, it was wonderful to see that women were an essential piece of every part of the movie, not only in the cast, but the director, producer, film editor, film crew, costume designers, script supervisors, set designers, assistants and hair and makeup artists.
I’m very thankful for the time I was able to spend with Diane English because she taught me a lot about Hollywood. Hearing her talk about how few women have powerful roles in Hollywood really made me respect her for reaching her goal of writing and directing this film. This entire experience, especially working with Diane, has really empowered me to rethink my future and set my goals a little higher. For instance, I’m definitely reconsidering where I want to go to college next year and am now thinking seriously about what I want to do after college. The whole experience has really made me think about all the opportunities available to me as a woman and has made my world a little bigger!
W&H: As a young woman what type of movies do you like?
CN: I like a little bit of everything, but I love romantic comedies and I really loved The Women! My favorite movies are Hitch and Hairspray.
W&H: Do you think that young women get portrayed positively in TV and film?
CN: In my opinion, I don’t think all young women are always portrayed in a positive way on screen. I have been more than excited to see that more and more movies are coming out that show women in empowering roles – offering me and my friends more positive role models to follow. My favorite thing about The Women is the all-female cast – they really took it a step further to show how different and diverse all women can be - I would love to see more of that in TV and movies in the future.
W&H: When you left the set, what was the one thing you learned that you never expected to learn?
CN: This was a very new experience for me so I really learned a lot about the film and about me. During my time on set I learned that all these beautiful stars that I look up to and that my friends try to copy are just normal people. Dove sent me behind-the-scenes of the film to interview some of the cast and crew, including Meg Ryan Annette Bening, Jada Pinkett Smith and Debra Messing, to learn how they defined “real beauty.” I learned that these women had the same type of insecurities as me and my friends and they don’t wake up looking like their characters. I think it is really important for girls my age to learn that the perfect images we see on screen are not always real, they are definitely created.
While I was on the set of the film one of the makeup artists and hairstylists gave me a full “Hollywood” makeover, and the wardrobe stylist let me try on some of the clothes used in the movie. I never realized how many people are actually working behind-the-scenes to create the images we see on screen. I’m so honored that the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty has selected me to help create their short film The Women Behind “The Women” so I can help other girls my age challenge today’s beauty stereotypes and encourage them to embrace their own real beauty.
W&H: What's next for you?
CN: Well, I’m a senior this year so I’m excited about finishing my last year of high school and looking forward to graduation. Next for me I guess is college! (I’m just not sure where I’m going yet!)

Winners of The Women Contest

Thanks so much to all of you who submitted your answers to the questions to win a copy of the soundtrack for The Women.

These were the questions:

  • What year was the original film made? 1939
  • Name two other films that starred women that opened that year? I was looking for The Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind
  • Who wrote the original film? The screenplay by Anita Loos and Jane Murfin based on the Clare Booth Luce
  • Diane English (the film's writer and director) created what TV series? Murphy Brown
The winners are:
Emily Benson of Kansas City and Zsa Zsa Gershick of N. Hollywood, CA.

I hope to have more contests soon. The Women opens in theatres tomorrow, September 12th.

Why Not a Woman Director?

I don't think that women should be restricted to directing only chick flicks or films about women, but looking at the film landscape and the pathetic number of films directed by women, it boggles my mind when a film like the upcoming romantic drama (thanks for the fix) Nights at Rodanthe turns out to be directed by a gay man with no previous film experience. Couldn't this film have been the perfect opportunity for a female director maybe like Martha Coolidge (who directed The Prince and Me) with experience dealing with relationship movies.

I intend no offense to George C. Wolfe -- a man known best for his theatrical directing (Angels in America- one of the best things I've ever seen) and for running the Public Theatre. He is a genius. But for a man not known for lightness is a strange choice for directing this Diane Lane-Richard Gere romantic comedy.

How does a man who has never directed a film before (he has directed Lackawanna Blues on HBO) get this gig when the many women who have experience in this genre continue to get passed over?

George C. Wolfe's big-screen debut is 'Nights in Rodanthe' (LA Times)

photo: Michael Tackett

September 10, 2008

Women Playwrights Missing from Fall Theatre Season in NY

The NY Times reported this past Sunday that the new upcoming Broadway season is a Male, Male, Male World: Like I'm shocked.

A handful of productions, probably converging by coincidence, will provide a season-long seminar on the subject of the male animal under pressure.
The Times continues and posits that maybe this is a reaction to last season's plethora of domineering women.
Is it a reaction against last season, when the New York stage seemed to be overtaken by domineering women?...Whatever the reason, wives and mothers are taking a definite back seat to their husbands, fathers and sons this fall on Broadway stages.
Playwright Theresa Rebeck takes on this bullshit in a great piece in The Guardian, Broadway's Glass Ceiling and makes it very clear that every season, no matter if there are a few good female roles, is a man's world because so few female playwrights are let into the club.
Could we get real? Every year is the Year of the Man, with a couple of women who manage to crawl their way into the lineup. In the 2008/2009 season, as it has been announced, the number of plays written by women on New York stages will amount to 12.6% of the total.
Rebeck knows what's going on in the business. She's one of the few women kind of allowed into the club and it's a tough, tough world. I know cause I hear all the stories from her as we work out at the gym. The stuff she says is too good to make up, even for a playwright and novelists.
There's some feeling in rehearsal halls and writers' retreats and drunken dinner parties, that maybe the American theatre participates rather too enthusiastically in the supposed gender bias that the American media tosses about willy-nilly while discussing candidates for higher office. Mostly it is women playwrights who feel that way; male playwrights think the system is really, really fair and that women playwrights who raise these questions are whiners or dirty feminists.
Last week over 100 female playwrights in NYC discussed the pathetic amount of women being produced in New York this upcoming season.

Here's some of the numbers:
Plays by Living American Playwrights for 2008-09 Season:
Roundabout: 3 white men, 1 white woman
Lincoln Center Theater: 4 white men
Manhattan Theatre Club: 5 White men, 1 black woman
Public Theater: 6 white men, 1 black woman
Second Stage: 3 white men, 1 white woman
Playwrights Horizons: 4 white men, 2 women (1 black, 1 white)
Vineyard: 1 white man, 1 black man
NYTW: 1 white man, 1 white woman
Primary Stages: 3 white men, 1 white woman
Soho Rep: 1 white man
Rattlestick: 2 white men, 1 white woman
New Group: 2 white men
Atlantic: 5 white men

Total Female Playwrights: 9

Pathetic Fact of the Day: A higher percentage of women were being produced on NY stages in 1908-09 season that 2008-2009 season!

Think about going to support a female playwright the next time you are going to the theatre and if there is not a play by a woman ask your local theatre why not.

Hollywood Feminist of the Day: Annette Bening

For standing up against Sarah Palin: (By the way, I was enormously relieved that in The Women, Bening does not at all resemble her photo on the poster. When you look at the poster for the film is looks like Bening has gotten one of those scary facelifts where your face does not movie. I am happy to report that you can see emotions on her face in the film.)

"But the idea that people, who voted for Hillary, who tend to be Democrats, would change and vote for McCain because of Sarah Palin seems to me bizarre."

"I find that an odd idea because of course Sarah Palin's politics are to the right of McCain's. She's incredibly conservative and I think it's fair to say she's more conservative than John McCain. So whether she will rally more conservative people to get out there and vote, I don't know. But most of the people I know that were interested in voting for Hillary are voting for Obama."
Obama-backer Bening pillories Palin (Vancouver Sun)

Mamma Mia Continues to Kick Ass Overseas

In case you were wondering...Mamma Mia has now made $280 million overseas and has become the fifth highest overseas grosser of the year. Can they still say that people won't see films about women?

September 9, 2008

The New TV Season

I am a huge TV addict. There I've said it. I used to be ashamed but no more. I love the box that is the TV. September is my favorite month of the year for TV. All the new TV shows start and I excitedly dive into EW and TV Guide to pick the shows I want to watch. While being a TV addict, I am still picky and there are shows that I have no interest in -- all of reality TV, and many of the stupid guy sitcoms. Just keep in mind that this season could be a big bust because development was stunted by the writer's strike. Here's what I am looking forward to this season:

Fringe: (Fox, 9pm Tuesdays, starts tonight)
J.J. Abrams writes some strong women. Think Alias. His new show (which I really can't figure out what it is about at all) stars Aussie newcomer Anna Torv. I read that it is like a mixture of Alias, The X-Files and Bones. And any show that has Blair Brown as a co-star (with a mechanical arm) gets a couple of watchings from me.

Here's what Abrams told TV Guide about writing strong women:

It's funny because I don't consciously write strong women. I just hopefully write strong characters who may happen to be women. If Olivia were a guy, I don't think you'd be saying, "oh, it's a strong male."
The New Adventures of Old Christine (CBS, Wednesdays, 8pm)
If you don't watch this show you are missing out. Julia Louise Dreyfus is brilliant. The ongoing story this season that sounds hilarious is the gay marriage between Christine and her friend Barb (Wanda Sykes) to prevent Barb from being deported.

ER (NBC, Thursdays, 10pm)
In its last season the show is bringing in a big gun -- Angela Bassett is checking in as the new head of the ER. Awesome.

The Life and Times of Vivienne Wyle (Sundance, Sundays)
Ab Fab's Jennifer Saunders in a new series. Need I say more?

The Starter Wife (USA, begins 10/10 at 10pm)
Show takes up a year after the end of the mini-series. Stars Debra Messing and the amazing Judy Davis.

Shows I will watch but am not yet convinced will be good
Kath & Kim (NBC, begins 10/9 at 8:30pm)
Molly Shannon and Selma Blair star as mother and daughter (they are more like sisters in age) in the remake of the hit Australian show.

The Ex List (CBS, starts 10/3 at 9pm)
Elizabeth Reaser finally gets her own show but I hate the premise. She is told by a psychic that she has to marry within the next year or she never will. Way to freak out women. I will give it a show because of Reaser and showrunner Diane Ruggiero.

Interesting Guest Star
Mary Tyler Moore at Brooke Shields' mother on Lipstick Jungle

Other things I am thinking about:
  • I am hoping that Shonda Rhimes can get Private Practice on track cause I love all the actors on that show.
  • The aftermath of the kiss between Callie and Dr. Hahn on Grey's Anatomy.
  • Hoping that people will find Friday Night Lights on the Direct TV Channel.
  • Wondering why CBS moved Without a Trace.
  • Can't wait for the craziness that is Brother and Sisters.
  • Tina Fey whose 30 Rock is the funniest most subversive feminist show on TV.

Heard at the Toronto Film Festival

At the press conference for Nothing But the Truth, Rod Lurie's fictional retelling of the Judith Miller-Valerie Plame saga:

The conversation then turned to a discussion of women in film, the lack of good roles for women, and the recent comments of a studio exec who, on the heels of the Jodie Foster-starring revenge pic The Brave One tanking at the box office, said his studio would produce no more films with a woman in the lead role.

"You mean he's not going to do the Sarah Palin story?" said Alda.

"Kate and I are going to do it," said Lurie. "I'm going to write it for Kate."

The hit film The Devil Wears Prada was mentioned as proof that a smart, well-written film starring women can attract a crowd.

"Half of the best actors in the world are women," said Lurie.

"Slightly more than half," Beckinsale replied.
At least the lack of opportunities for women is being discussed. That's the first step.
Nothing But The Truth: TIFF press conference diaries (National Post)

Women in Dallas Organize Event for The Women

Check out this creative and original post from an awesome new community for mom's in Dallas. They are giving away 40 tickets to the premiere of The Women. Smartly, as part of the package they are offering child care.

If you live in Dallas, you should hook up with this group (even if you are not a mom.)

Moms Out Loud is hosting a Premiere Event at Studio Movie Grill-Plano (Park/Preston) for the The Women Movieupcoming movie “The Women”, headlined by Meg Ryan and Annette Bening. This movie is about friends, mothers, and daughters. It’s about relationships, through good times and bad. It’s about defining yourself and what you believe in, then walking through fire to stand up for it. It’s about Women.
The date to win the tickets has passed, but if you want to go with them send an email to:

Read full post here: Win Free Tickets and Free Childcare to The Women

September 8, 2008

The Women Contest

It's the week of The Women and to continue to build awareness the studio has offered a give-away of the soundtrack to the readers of Women & Hollywood.

In order to win the soundtrack you need to email me at the answers to the following questions (they're really easy):

  • What year was the original film made?
  • Name two other films that starred women that opened that year?
  • Who wrote the original film?
  • Diane English (the film's writer and director) created what TV series?
Include your address in the email so the prize can be mailed to you.

Film description: The Women tells the story of Mary Haines (Meg Ryan), a clothing designer who seems to have it all – a beautiful country home, a rich financier husband, an adorable 11-year-old daughter and a part-time career creating designs for her father’s venerable clothing company. Her best friend, Sylvie Fowler (Annette Bening), leads another enviable life – a happily single editor of a prominent fashion magazine, a possessor of a huge closet of designer clothes and a revered arbiter of taste and style poised on New York’s cutting edge. But when Mary’s husband enters into an affair with Crystal Allen (Eva Mendes), a sultry ‘spritzer girl’ lurking behind the Saks Fifth Avenue perfume counter, all hell breaks loose. Mary and Sylvie’s relationship is tested to the breaking point while their tight-knit circle of friends, including mega-mommy Edie Cohen (Debra Messing) and author Alex Fisher (Jada Pinkett-Smith), all start to question their own friendships and romantic relationships as well.

More info on The Women all week long.

The Secret Life of Bees Premieres in Toronto

Looks awesome. What a cast! Dakota Fanning, Queen Latifah, Sophie Okenedo, Alicia Keys, Jennifer Hudson. It's based on the Sue Monk Kidd novel. Here's a cast photo from the Toronto premiere.
Can't wait. Opens in limited release on October 17th. Here's the trailer:

photo credit: Getty Images

Happy Birthday Caryl Churchill

We don't know very much about her here in the US. Her work appeared on Broadway for the first time last season with the revival of Top Girls and she is arguably the most important feminist playwright. (I said arguably and those of you who know about theatre than I do can all argue about it.)

The folks in England celebrate her 70th. Here are some quotes from people who have worked with her:

Lindsay Duncan

I first met her on Top Girls. I'd never been involved in anything like it. There we were at the Royal Court, all of us women, asking all these questions of ourselves and the world. It was quite a heady time. I remember being so taken with her, this tall, striking, rather elegant but selfeffacing woman. I don't mean that she denied herself in any way, but she was one of the team, very open, she didn't intimidate or in any way make us feel that we weren't capable of doing it right. She wears her intelligence so lightly and brings the most delightful merriment into the rehearsal room. I remember feeling, this is what it's like to work with a woman. I decided then that I only ever wanted to work in that way. Not to play a part in something, but to be a part of something.
Harriet Walter
I think Caryl's particular skill in working through workshops while maintaining her individual inventiveness helped to feminise theatre in some way. She won't write anything that she doesn't want to write; she won't write at all if she's not in the mood. She is not in the least concerned with keeping trendy. She is so completely her own person, her own writer.
And from the Guardian
Of all the major forces in British playwriting, I can think of no one else who is regarded with such affection and respect by her peers. Maybe it's because Churchill has kept a low public profile over the years - she rarely gives interviews - while always supporting new writers.
Why Caryl Churchill is the Top Girl (The Times)
'She made us raise our game' (The Guardian)
photo credit: Jane Brown

Deeper Probing on the Lack of Women Reviewers

I took a deeper look at Dr. Martha Lauzen of the Center for Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State recent study, Thumbs Down: The Representation of Women Film Critics in The Top 100 U.S. Daily Newspapers. Here are some questions I posed to Dr. Lauzen

Women & Hollywood: You tried to analyze whether women reviewers were more likely than men to review film directed by women and films about women but the pool of those films was so low that you could not get reliable statistics. What does that say about the film business?

Dr. Martha Lauzen: The low numbers of women directors and protagonists confirm that the film business remains largely a male pursuit. Films are made primarily by men featuring mostly men intended for a largely male audience.
W&H: Women whether by interest or assignment are more likely to review romantic comedies and romantic dramas. This seems to me evidence that the chick flick mentality extends into the mindset of the reviewers and editors as well as the audience. What does this mean to you?
ML: The reviewers and editors are part of our culture and so it's not surprising that some of them would express gendered preferences.
W&H: Women edit half the sections that employ so few women as writers. Why do you think the numbers are so low when women have decision making in these areas?
ML: The number of women working as editors was a happy surprise. However, these women are part of larger corporate cultures. I suspect they are aware of expectations regarding assignments to reporters. Those organizational expectations may differ from their own preferences.
W&H: Your conclusion states: "In short, men dominate the reviewing process of films primarily made by men featuring mostly males intended for a largely male audience. The under-employment of women film reviewers, actors, and filmmakers perpetuates the nearly seamless dialogue among men in U.S. cinema." As a person who thinks about this what do you think we can do to get some more women's voices?
ML: Of course you recognize that this is a huge question. Women are very well-represented in journalism programs around the country. Unfortunately, the pool of film and television criticism jobs at traditional media organizations is shrinking. I think the voices that remain become even more important. When Ebert and Roeper were recently replaced with two younger guys, I wonder if any women were even considered as replacements.
W&H: The blogosphere is taking over some of the void left with the consolidation of newspapers especially in the areas of entertainment. From my experience most of the film bloggers and reviewers are also male and that even in its infancy most of the bloggers of status in the business are men supporting the male films. Did you look at bloggers at all in your study and how can we get some more women's voices writing about film and other areas of entertainment?
ML: We did not consider bloggers in the study. Perhaps a place to start would be to conduct a public information campaign targeting journalism and film schools around the country, outlining the problem and asking them to encourage their female students to speak up on this issue.
Check out the full study here: Thumbs Down: The Representation of Women Film Critics in The Top 100 U.S. Daily Newspapers and my earlier piece: Missing Female Reviewers