USC: The Privilege of White Male Critics

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

A team of researchers made an exhaustive search of movie reviews and found that the reviewers of them were overwhelmingly white and male: Perhaps it was more interesting research than watching the films themselves.

“Across the 100 top movies of 2017 and 19,559 reviews, male critics authored 77.8% of reviews and
female critics authored 22.2%,” they discovered. “This translates into a gender ratio of 3.5 male reviewers to every 1 female.”

“White critics authored 82% of reviews whereas critics from underrepresented racial/ethnic groups authored 18%.
This point statistic is substantially below (-20.7 percentage points) U.S. Census, where individuals from
underrepresented groups clock in at 38.7% of the population.”

“Looking at reviews through an intersectional lens, White male critics wrote substantially more reviews (63.9%)
than their White female (18.1%) or underrepresented male (13.8%) peers. Underrepresented female critics only
wrote 4.1% of the sample. The ratio of White women’s reviews to those of their underrepresented female
counterparts was 4.4 to 1.” (Editor’s note: If you’ve been to more that one academic conference, you’ll find that they love to look at everything through an “intersectional” lens.)

“Given that reviewers often evaluate multiple films in the sample, we were also interested in the total number of
unique or individual film critics. Just over two-thirds of individual critics were males (68.3%) and 31.7% were
females. Of those ascertained for race/ethnicity, a full 76.3% of all critics were White and 23.7% were from
underrepresented racial/ethnic backgrounds (UR). The majority of all critics were White males (53.2%) followed by
White females (23%), UR males (14.8%), and then UR females (8.9%).”

Now here’s a question for their next study: How many people actually read any of those reviews?