In a new study released today by the Center for Study of Women in Television and Film, the stats about female critics at the top sites, newspapers and outlets shows that the business is still very male centric.
The study took a look at the 2,000 reviews written by "top critics" in the spring of 2013 that were aggregated on rotten tomatoes. The be considered a top critic a writer need to: "be published at a print publication in the top 10% of circulation, employed as a film critic at a national broadcast outlet for no less than five years, or employed as a film critic for an editorial-based website with over 1.5 million monthly unique visitors for a minimum of three years."
Women make up only 22% of those critics and wrote only 18% of the reviews. And it's even worse in the entertainment media where "males accounted for 91% of critics writing for movie/entertainment magazines/websites such as Entertainment Weekly, 90% of those writing for trade publication websites such as Variety, The Hollywood Reporter and The Wrap, 80% of critics writing for general interest magazines and sites such as Time and Salon, 72% of those writing for newspaper websites, and 70% of critics writing for radio outlets/sites such as NPR."
And again, reiterating the point that things are not getting better no matter what the perception in the media is, these numbers show a decline from the last survey. In 2007, women wrote 30% of reviews for the top 100 newspapers in the US.
Other things to note from the survey is that women do write more reviews about women directed and women written films, and men write more reviews about men, but there is no evidence to say that either gender gave better reviews to films by their respective gender.
The researcher Dr. Martha Lauzen sums up the report as follows:
Popular film criticism remains a predominantly male activity. Films with male directors and writers receive greater exposure as male critics are more likely to review these films than films with female directors and writers.
Bottom line, criticism is another spoke in the wheel of the film business that is dominated by men. Since there are more movies about men and more movies reviewed by men we will continue to see a lack of female voices in this very important medium. This is another part of the industry that must change.