We all knew this was coming…first it was video games, then comic books, then Star Wars, the latest industry with a target on it’s back is now, film critics. Yesterday, Captain Marvel actress Brie Larson (Who is confirmed to be the new face of the MCU in phase IV) criticized white male critics of movies that weren’t made for them. This is off the heels of a recent study from the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, which found that more than 63 percent of film critics are white and male, and only 18.1 percent were white and female.
Well, Hollywood sees blood in the water now because more actresses are attacking white male bias in film reviews. Stars of Ocean’s 8, the heist movie featuring all-female leads, have accused male critics of failing to appreciate their film.
Speaking to Yahoo Movies, Mindy Kaling called the dominance of white male reviewers “unfair”. “If I had to base my career on what white men wanted I would be very unsuccessful, so there is obviously an audience out there who want to watch things like Ocean’s 8, what I work on, what Sarah Paulson works on.”
Co-star Cate Blanchett concurred, saying the media had failed to make the mindshift the movie industry had when it came to gender equality. “The conversation has to change,” she said, “and the media has a huge responsibility.”
There are two narratives being pushed here, first is the reason why films like Ocean’s 8, Ghostbusters (2016), and A Wrinkle in Time are negatively viewed by critics is that the pool of critics is not ‘diverse’ enough to understand and enjoy these films. A point which is nonsense seeing that all of these films are actually viewed BETTER by critics than the far more diverse general audiences. Secondly, Hollywood is about to set a dangerous precedent that white males shouldn’t be allowed to review films that don’t pander to them and that only a diverse group should review them in order to get a better approval of their films.
A number of journalists have taken issue with this idea that someone’s gender and ethnic background dictates your response to art. Variety’s Guy Lodge, who also writes for the Guardian and Observer, pointed out that a number of female critics including Time’s Stephanie Zacharek and Vulture’s Emily Yoshida have concurred with the general lukewarm response to Ocean’s 8. Buzzfeed’s Alison Willmore protested that such logic missed the real objective for diversity and set a dangerous precedent.
If this narrative isn’t stopped now, this will only lead to the general public having less faith in film critics for objectivity than they already have. The failure of your films being poorly received isn’t the fault of male bias, you simply have to make better movies.