film criticism is a sausage fest

I went to a screening tonight (of a film I won’t mention since it doesn’t open for a while yet, but it was fantastic and I can’t wait to tell you about it), and as always, the screening was packed… with men. In a screening room that seats 94, and was at least three-quarters full, I counted only a handful of women, perhaps less than half a dozen. And some of them may have been guests of male critics, not critics themselves.

It’s not only my perception that film criticism is overwhelmingly dominated by men. Studies have done the tallying and proven it. Science!

This is yet another damn good reason to support the work I’m doing here: to help redress this imbalance. There aren’t that many women’s voices talking about film with any authority. I don’t want to have to relinquish mine.

Reader Bob Boatman said here:

We can’t lose you.. you are a national treasure.

Reader Bluejay, who just bumped up his subscription from $12 a year to $5 a month, told me:

I’ve been regularly visiting ever since I stumbled onto your LOTR reviews. (Or was it your posts about reading Harry Potter? Was that at your other site? It seems like years and years ago!) I really appreciate your distinctive take on things — even when we disagree — and the space you’ve provided for conversation among smart, interesting people. Your posts — and the sometimes heated arguments in your community of commenters — have done so much to raise my consciousness, clarify my thinking, and sometimes even change my mind on a whole range of subjects, from film criticism to feminism to politics to pop culture and the world at large. I can honestly say that I *think better* today because of all the time I’ve spent on your site, and for that I’m grateful.

I wonder if anyone has ever said to any of all those male film critics that they made their readers understand feminism better!

The 321 new subscribers I’m looking for in February has nudged down to 305.

At this rate, it will take me only until February 2015 to meet my goal. That’s not good enough. In fact, it sucks.

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Chris Bamberger
Chris Bamberger
Wed, Feb 26, 2014 1:36pm

Yes. Very yes.

And timely – while waking up this morning, I half-heard a report on NPR about gender bias in book reviews and reviewers.(

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  Chris Bamberger
Wed, Feb 26, 2014 2:29pm

Yup, it’s books too. It’s all mainstream media, unless the topic is clothes, makeup, childcare, or abortion.

Women are not a minority or fringe. And yet we’re treated like one. I’m sick of it.

reply to  MaryAnn Johanson
Wed, Feb 26, 2014 2:36pm

And How To Catch The Perfect Guy (see also clothes, makeup).

The false distinction means that the range of viewpoints is squashed down further than it needs to be. A “male opinion” is a social construct that has very little to do with what I, a man, am likely to think.
But of course it’s an easy marketing category. Guys: explosions, breasts, violence. Gals: manipulation and bitchiness to tread on your rivals and claim the Big Provider so that you’ll never need to do anything again.

Wed, Feb 26, 2014 2:03pm


As I clicked on this, (based on the headline) I thought the piece was going to be about “…and just like making sausage and laws, you don’t want to know what goes into it.”

This is a totally different metaphor! And TRUE! So true!