Who Are The Film Critics? And Who Do They Represent?

Kate Erbland recently wrote an article for Indiwire discussing how both women, and critics of color are still extremely under-represented in the film critic world. She states that her article will probably appear familiar to those that read last year’s Thumbs Down Study from the Center for the Study of Women in TV and Film at San Diego State University. One year ago, the study found that male critics outnumbered female critics 2 to 1. One year later the study has only seen a three percent increase in the balance between male and female critics.

Dr. Martha M. Lauzen, Ph.D, who heads up the Thumbs Down Study gave a formal statement: ““The overrepresentation of men as film reviewers coupled with the fact that a higher proportion of their reviews focus on male-driven stories and films directed by men advantage those films by giving them greater visibility in the critical marketplace. As the film industry reanimates in the coming weeks, this structural inequity will help to ensure that pre-pandemic inequities will remain in place in the pandemic and post-pandemic environments.” Unless the structural makeup of the film industry drastically changes, the inequity between men and women in the field will always exist. With production and film making down during this Pandemic, the industry is being allowed a chance to reevaluate and change.

According to the San Diego State University’s study, women are not the only ones under-represented in the critic industry. The study found that 73% of all male reviewers are white, and 70% of all female critics are white. While Hollywood is definitely under representing female critics, they are even further failing to represent all critics of color.

The Thumbs Down study, which originated in 2007, is the longest running and most comprehensive study on the representation of women in the film industry. Hopefully the film industry will see a more dramatic number of equal representation within the near future.


Read Kate Earblands article Male Critics Still Outnumber Female, All Critics of Color Remain “Dramatically Underrepresented for the Indiewire here

You can read the full study from the Center For The Study Of Women In Television & Film here.

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