The film-critic execution chamber has been mercifully quiet for most of the summer, with gripey David Ansen notably still refusing to die as others continue to line up behind him. And while on one hand we're glad to see few women among the condemned, we're reminded today that it's all relative: A recently released study notes that 70% of reviews published in the top 100 American dailies are written by men. Moreover, almost half of those papers don't publish any reviews by women at all. And despite our beloved Dargises, Chocanos, Rickeys and others, we're afraid that not a number you should expect to climb any time soon:
[C]omments by Salon.com's Stephanie Zacharek raise another concern: "The big news isn't that daily newspapers aren't hiring women as critics; it's that many of them have ceased caring whether they have a full-time movie critic at all," she writes. Lauzen's numbers, she continues, "don't trouble me as much as the pervasiveness of the idea that critics — the last line of defense between moviegoers and studio-generated hype — no longer matter." That said, Zacharek gets anecdotal about gender bias: She turned down a job as a major daily's film critic because the salary "was so laughably low. The editor who interviewed me ... made no secret that the paper wanted to hire a female critic, but clearly, what the joint really wanted was a cheap date."
This news is certainly frustrating enough in strict cultural terms, but to absorb it in a time when even Ben Lyons has occasion to shovel more shit on TV every week... well, really. That's just fucked up, right there.
- Women Film Critics: An Endangered Species? [AlterNet]