Thumbs Down Report 2019: Male Critics Still Outnumber Women Two to One

Dr. Martha Lauzen along with the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film have released their annual “Thumbs Down” report.

First conducted in 2007, “Thumbs Down” is the longest running study of women’s representation and impact as film reviewers. The study accounts for critics working in all print, broadcast, and online outlets for Spring of 2019. This year’s report concludes that male film reviewers still outnumber women about two to one – as women only represent 34% of film reviewers in the U.S. as compared to last year’s 32%.

Lauzen discusses how gender disparity within film representation can also affect how a film will be received by the public, stating that women film critics are much more likely to give credit to women working on films than men are. Women are also much more inclined to speak positively about a film regardless of the filmmaker’s gender – however, male film critics are more likely to mention only works of male directors in a positive way.

 The “Thumbs Down” annual report considers more than 4,500 reviews written by over 380 individuals working in print, broadcast, and online in 2019. The research found in this year’s study is unsurprisingly similar to the numbers released from last year’s report, but Lauzen states that this report is necessary to continue because they highlight gender imbalances.

“These gender imbalances matter because they impact the visibility films with female protagonists and women directors receive, as well as the nature of reviews,” she stated. “This research expands our understanding of how reviews written by female critics differ from those written by men.”

For more key findings, read the whole “Thumbs Down” report.