Study Claims There's A Significant Gender Divide In Film Criticism

When you read a film review, do you pay close attention to the byline? Does the gender of the critic alter how you feel about the film, or the review? And do you only read reviews by critics of a certain gender?

These are some of the questions being bandied around thanks to the results of a San Diego State University study claiming that men continue to “dominate” the field of film criticism and, in turn, tend to gravitate toward films that are written and/or directed by other men. THR shares a few of the study’s most interesting (and controversial) findings, while acknowledging that the study’s window of observation only took place over a two-month period this past spring. Over that time period, Martha Lauzen used Rotten Tomatoes to track more than 2,000 reviews written by the sites “Top Critics.” Her findings included:

- Men account for 78% of the Top Critics reviews on RT, writing 82% of filed reviews.- A “large proportion” of the total reviews written by female critics were “about films directed by and/or written by at least one woman.”- Men, also, disproportionately reviewed films written by or directed by men, though given the dominance of male directors and screenwriters in the film industry, that number would be hard to skew.

Reaction has been all over the place on social media in response to this report going public. Some have expressed outraged. Others aren’t shocked to find women underrepresented in the critical community. But few have come up with suggestions on how to reverse the trend. What do you think? Should there be more female film critics? Why do you think there aren't more women writing film criticism? And did you ever notice a dominant gender in film criticism before this study was released?

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.