Meryl Streep Reveals an “Infuriating” Gender Imbalance in Rotten Tomatoes Reviews
Meryl Streep did a little digging and found out a few rotten things about everyone’s favorite movie critic community: Rotten Tomatoes. According to her, there’s a very serious dearth of female critics on the site, so much so that she called the imbalanced ratio “infuriating.” Given how much this year’s London Film Festival has focused on women in film, it’s great to see the conversation turn towards the our side of the screen, as well.
I went deep, deep, deep, deep into Rotten Tomatoes. I counted how many contributors to Rotten Tomatoes. There’s a very strict criteria that allows you to be a blogger or critic. Of those people who are allowed to rate on the tomato meter, there are 168 women.
And I thought that’s absolutely fantastic, and if there were 168 men it would be balanced. If there were 268 men it would be unfair but I would be used to it, if there were 368, 468, or 568… actually there are 760 men who weigh in on the Tomatometer.
She stressed that there should be balance, that this significant imbalance sets back the industry as a whole. Given that Rotten Tomatoes is often one of the most cited movie review websites, and given that the ratio of women to men is so skewed, doesn’t it logically follow that perhaps the ratings and numbers themselves might be a little skewed? Over half the population’s tastes are not being reflected in one of the internet’s most popular movie review websites. That’s absolutely staggering.
I submit to you that men and women are not the same, they like different things. Sometimes they like the same thing but sometimes their tastes diverge. If the Tomatometer is slighted so completely to one set of tastes, that drives box office in the United States, absolutely.
According to a recent study by the Producer’s Guild of America’s Women’s Impact Network, women make up a massive, massive chunk of the box office market. Yet movies and films geared towards women are often put down as “unmarketable” or “not worth it.” That logic doesn’t follow at all, does it? Studios are leaving money on the table every time they write a movie off in this way.
It’s important to note that Streep had recently come under fire for a few things regarding her stance on feminism. She called herself a “humanist,” not a feminist, and she was recently part of a photoshoot featuring some t-shirts that read “I’d Rather Be A Rebel Than A Slave,” which were fairly tone-deaf when it comes to intersectionality. But neither of these things detract from how right she is about Rotten Tomatoes.
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