A Decline in Influence of Female Film Critics


Judith Crist became the first full-time female critic at any major newspaper when she joined The New York Herald Tribune as their film critic in 1963. She passed in 2012. (Source: Women in Hollywood)

Last week the Alliance of Women Film Journalists and Variety posted articles on research conducted by the Center for the Study of Women in Film and Television’s Executive Director Martha Lauzen on the decline of female film critics. The statistics in the study revealed yet another grim side of female influence and presence in the industry:

“Radio and newspapers had the highest percentage of female critics while entertainment and trade outlets had the lowest: Males accounted for 91% of critics writing for movie/entertainment magazines/websites such as Entertainment Weekly, 90% of those writing for trade publication websites such as Variety, the Hollywood Reporter and The Wrap, 80% of critics writing for general interest magazines and sites such as Time and Salon, 72% of those writing for newspaper websites, and 70% of critics writing for radio outlets/sites such as NPR.”

The statistics focused on a study done in 2007 on film reviews for theatrically released movies with comparisons made to current figures utilizing Rotten Tomatoes’ Top Critics categories. 

Female film critics have always been a minority in the vastly male dominated field. In 2004, the Women Film Critic Circle was founded because female film critics saw a need for “women’s perspectives and voices in film criticism to be recognized fully.” The Circle has 62 members, many of whom write for major publications. Several of their members made it onto a list compiled by Flavorwire last week in response to the publication of the study by Lauzen. 

Quite a few of the 15 critics listed write for New York publications such as The New York Times, New York Post, and The Village Voice or are based in NYC. All but one can be found on Twitter, and we put together a list for you so you can follow them easily. Please let us know other female film critics on Twitter you think we should add, and we’d be happy to keep the list growing. — AMANDA LIN COSTA


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