Chaz Ebert on the Need for Diverse Voices in Film Criticism
Posted on December 29, 2015 at 8:00 am
Chaz Ebert of rogerebert.com writes in The Daily Beast about the importance of more diverse voices in movie criticism — and in those who make movies, too.
Meryl Streep’s use of the word “infuriating” to describe the disproportionate ratio of male to female reviewers on the Rotten Tomatoes is apt.
But the need for diverse voices in film criticism does not suffice with gender. A wide spectrum of voices is critical in challenging the mainstream white male-dominated narrative that drives much of Hollywood and the popular media. Being introduced to diverse critical voices and opinions in the arts not only affects how we see the world but also has a profound influence on how we begin to heal it.
Chaz has been a leader in this effort, and has made particular progress in bringing great women writers to rogerebert.com, including my friends Sheila O’Malley, ReBecca Theodore-Vachon, Jana Monji, Susan Wloszczyna, Olivia Collette, Christy Lemire, and Anath White.
The Atlantic Monthly has an article on the falling percentage of women film critics. The discussion of how women were originally advantaged and then materially disadvantaged in this field is fascinating. Thelma Adams also writes about the problem of too few female movie critics for Variety.
According to the Gender at the Movies study of top critics on Rotten Tomatoes, men account for 91% of those writing for movie/entertainment magazines and websites such as Entertainment Weekly; 90% of those writing for trade publications and websites; 80% of critics writing for general interest magazines and sites such as Time and Salon; 72% of those writing for newspaper sites; and 70% of critics writing for radio outlets and sites such as NPR.