Women Critics

  • The vast majority of “top critics” on the Rotten Tomatoes website are men. In spring 2016, women comprised just 27% and men 73% of these individuals.
  • Regardless of job title, male writers outnumber female writers. Men accounted for 74% and women 26% of individuals working as film critics for media outlets. Men comprised 75% and women 25% of freelancers.
  • In every type of publication, male reviewers dramatically outnumber female reviewers. For example, males comprised 80% and females 20% of individuals writing about film for trade publications. Men accounted for 71% and women 29% of those writing about film for large U.S. newspapers.
  • Male writers are more likely than female writers to belong to at least one professional critics organization. 54% of male reviewers and 37% of female reviewers belong to one or more professional organizations, such as the National Society of Film Critics or the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.
  • Men write more reviews of films in all genres than women. The greatest discrepancy between male and female writers occurred for science fiction features. In spring 2016, men penned 84% and women 16% of reviews in this genre. The greatest parity occurred on romantic comedies and dramas. In this genre, men wrote 57% and women 43% of reviews.
  • A larger proportion of the films reviewed by women than by men feature female protagonists. 34% of reviews written by women but 24% of reviews written by men featured female protagonists. Conversely, a higher proportion of the reviews written by men than by women had male protagonists exclusively. 76% of reviews written by men but 66% of reviews written by women featured male protagonists only. It is unclear whether these differences are due to the preferences of writers or assignments made by editors.

Center for the Study of Women in Television & Film