Film Critics’ Gender Gap: Men Write 78 Percent of Reviews, Study Finds

83 percent of reviews are also written by white film critics

A new study conducted by the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative and Time’s Up has found that film criticism is dominated by white men, with 78 percent of reviews from 2015 to 2017 written by male critics, and 83 percent written by white critics.

The report surveyed reviews of 300 top-grossing films from 2015 to 2017 posted on Rotten Tomatoes to assess gender and race/ethnicity of critics, including how this varies by film distributor and publication outlets.

Nearly 60,000 reviews were logged in the report, which found that nonwhite women only wrote 3.7 percent, white female critics wrote 17 percent, and nonwhite men wrote 13 percent.

“This study reveals that the inequality we see among critics is not a one-time problem,” said Dr. Stacy L. Smith, founder and director of the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative. “These are stable patterns that demonstrate that the conversation surrounding films and their value is not an inclusive one.”

Perhaps even more glaring was the study’s discovery that nearly half of the 300 films surveyed did not have a review from a single woman of color. Similarly, 45.4 percent of the 108 female-driven movies and 35.1 percent of the 57 films with a POC actor in a leading role were not reviewed by any female critics of color.

Actress Brie Larson, who will star in “Captain Marvel” next year, praised the study for showing why representation in film criticism is essential.

“It’s important for the entertainment industry to embrace the diverse voices in film criticism that already exist and ensure that the critics reviewing movies represent the audience that sees them,” Larson said. “We can all do our part to create access and opportunity for the perspectives that have long been missing from these conversations.”

The study comes as the Time’s Up organization continues to develop CRITICAL, an opt-in database of female and underrepresented entertainment writers and critics.

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