I’m quoted in a piece at RogerEbert.com, “The Status of Feminist Film Criticism – A Roundup Report.” A taste of the article:
Last year’s USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative’s Critics Choice report, based on reviews of 300 top-grossing films from 2015 to 2017 posted on Rotten Tomatoes, showed only 21.3% of evaluated reviews were written by female critics — a ratio of 3.7 male reviewers to every 1 female. The stats related to female film critics of color and from other minority groups are even more egregious.
These alarming unacceptable numbers reinforce female film critics’ demands for greater representation in print, broadcast and online media, as well as in awards-presenting groups such as the influential Broadcast Film Critics Association, which currently lists 82 women (including myself) among its 334 members, roughly 25%.
But statistical studies don’t quantify all the frustrations female film critics face, nor do they elucidate why inclusion of diverse women’s voices — cis and transgender, all races, ethnicities and backgrounds — is critical to the cultural conversation. They recognize neither women’s distinct perspectives on film nor the credos and goals — beyond parity, that is — that differentiate women film critics — especially those identifying as feminists — from the overly influential pack of men who write about film.
I supplied a lot more commentary to Jennifer Merin, the writer of the piece, as did all the other women critics quoted therein, than could be used in the RogerEbert.com essay. But we’re all members of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, and at AWFJ.org you can read our comments in their entirety. Start here for links to each critic’s commentary. A teaser of mine:
[I]t’s often difficult for us feminist film critics to turn off our brains and just enjoy a movie. We need to be saying this all the time! That we would like to be able to brainlessly enjoy a movie, but that it’s a lot more difficult for us to do so. (I am going to start saying this more.) Turning off one’s brain at the movies is a privilege that, for the most part, only straight white cis hetero able-bodied men can enjoy! It can be really difficult, sometimes, considering the abuse that feminist film critics can come in for, but we should consider it our duty to make that very narrow slice of humanity (straight white cis hetero able-bodied men) uncomfortable, should they read our criticism. Perhaps the great duty — and, heh, privilege — of feminist film critics is to make uncomfortable that audience that Hollywood and our culture perceives as the human norm (straight white cis hetero able-bodied men). If we cannot be 100 percent brain-switched-off entertained by The Movies, neither should they get to enjoy that.
Enjoy the rage.