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Reviewers, Representation and Bullshit

I blogged in March about the lack of female theatre critics. Click here.  Recently, I found an article about the top 50 film critics.  The article examined how film reviewers stacked up against their peers in terms of whether they tended to critic with the crowd, so to speak.  But what most intrigued me about this list was the percentage of women (of course!).  Of the top fifty film critics, how many do you think are female?  Twelve! 24%.  Less than a quarter. Bullshit.

Then I see this story in Women and Hollywood last week about the fat shaming British male reviewers of Opera singer Tara Erraught.   I didn’t even think there was such a thing as a skinny Opera singer.  Alice Coote, a peer of Erraught’s wrote an open letter critiquing this body hatred by these male reviewers, explaining that the voice is the instrument, in this case, and body shaming Opera singers will do nothing for the genre.

But again, I go back to the source.  Women are continually under-represented as writers in this media.  I harp on this issue, maybe too much, but things are never going to change if the same people are the ones doing all the criticism.  And we need to start complaining about this.

Let’s look again at numbers of female writers in the big papers.  28% in the New York Times, 23% in the Washington Post and 20% in the Wall Street Journal.  Bullshit.

62% of books reviewed by The New York Times between 2008 and 2011 were written by men.  Bullshit.

Men are quoted five times more than women in news articles and a Women’s eNews story reported that only 24% of news subjects in 7,000 news stories and 14,000 news sources were women.  Bullshit.

Men are writing the world, responding to the world, critiquing the world and running the world.  18.2% of women are in the House of Representatives and 20% of the Senate.  That’s not even a quarter when we’re well over half the population.  And if we take this topic globally, only 22 women run the 196 countries on Earth.  11%.  Bullshit.

Until women and the men who love them, or give a damn about equality and balance, start pissing and moaning about how we’re MIS-represented on the planet, we’re only getting half of the truth.  I’m reviewing my first play as an “official” theatre reviewer tomorrow.  I think I am one of none in the Rhode Island theatre scene.  Baby steps or bullshit?

Women must write op-eds and submit them to papers.  Continually ask questions about who is behind the story, who is writing the story, who is in the story, and who is telling the story.  Demand, as a consumer of media, that you get full representation. And call bullshit wherever you see it.


my feminist praxis

critical reflections on my feminist praxis: activism, motherhood, and life

The Feminist Critic

Providing weekly critiques of theatre, film, books, politics and pop culture from a feminist perspective.