Thumbs Down 2022: Film Critics and Gender, and Why It Matters
First conducted in 2007, Thumbs Down considers the representation of individuals working for print, radio/television, and online outlets in the U.S. and whose reviews appear on the Rotten Tomatoes website. The study found that male reviewers now outnumber female reviewers by more than 2 to 1. In the opening months of 2022, men comprised 69% (69.2%), women 31% (30.5%), and nonbinary individuals 0.3% of reviewers. For women, this represents a decline of 4 percentage points from 35% in 2020. Further, male critics outnumber female critics in every job category, type of media outlet, and film genre considered. The findings indicate that men reviewers award slightly higher average quantitative ratings to films with male protagonists than women reviewers, films directed by women comprise a smaller proportion of reviews by men than women, and that when reviewing films directed by someone of their own gender, male and female critics are more likely to mention the name of the director in their review. Over the years, Thumbs Down has considered over 29,000 reviews written by more than 1,900 reviewers. This year’s edition examined more than 4,000 reviews written by over 330 individuals. It is the most comprehensive and longest-running study of women’s representation and impact as film reviewers available.