Colorado College Senior Rebecca Celli has my back — and I’m sharing her New York Times Letter to the Editor below. Thank you, Rebecca Celli — and let’s do lunch soon. Gender inequality among the gatekeepers of film criticism has been high on my professional agenda for years. I have been screaming this to the rooftops for years. The shocker is that, while some women of my generation broke through and had a good run, many, many senior influential women critics have fallen by the wayside and not been picked up. And as for solidarity from our male colleagues, it has been anemic. Recently, when I went to post a review of Mad Max: Fury Road on RottenTomatoes, I was overwhelmingly surrounded by male voices. Can we change this? I have twice launched Adams on Reel Women columns on mainstream (not women’s) sites: AMC Filmcritic.com and then Yahoo Movies, and both time seen the column eradicated despite its success and influence. Yes, I’m part of the fight for more women directors — but when I interview Julia Louis-Dreyfus or Jessica Chastain or Melissa Leo or Charlize Theron or Emily Blunt or Rachel Weisz, I alw . She begins her well-reasoned letter in response to the article “A.C.L.U Pushes for Inquiry into Bias Against Female Directors:”
The American Civil Liberties Union’s recent complaint makes clear what everyone in Hollywood (and many of us outside Hollywood) know: Social networks and implicit discriminatory processes privilege men over women and threaten equal opportunity for women in the film industry.
But the issue is not limited to who gets to direct the movies; it extends to how those movies are seen.
I’ve just completed a yearlong quantitative and qualitative study of professional film criticism. I analyzed 131 reviews of 46 films that won audience awards at major film festivals to evaluate how a director’s gender affects reviews of films by critics.
And Ms. Celli continues from there, concluding:
It is a positive first step for the A.C.L.U. to examine how stereotyping influences how films are made and by whom. The next step, a necessary one, is to understand how such thinking affects how films are consumed and understood.
We female critics are often the champions of women’s films, and the gatekeepers in a field, I cannot say community, that is frequently disrespectful or dismissive of our voices. This is a call to arms, sisters (and brothers, too).