Meryl Streep Calls Out "Infuriating" Lack of Female Film Critics
By Katey Rich
Meryl Streep ought to be a fan of movie critics — they're the ones who give her great reviews even when she's in terrible movies, and who have showered her with awards over the years, even more often than the Oscars. But as much as she may love critics, she’d also like to change them, specifically by bringing a bit more gender balance to their ranks.
"The word isn't 'disheartening,' it’s 'infuriating,'" Streep said at a London press conference, talking about the way male critics vastly out number female, in the Rotten Tomatoes rankings, as well as in the prestigious New York Film Critics Circle. "I submit to you that men and women are not the same. They like different things. Sometimes they like the same things, but their tastes diverge. If the Tomatometer is slided so completely to one set of tastes, that drives box office in the U.S., absolutely."
And she had numbers to back it up: she said she found 168 women contributing to Rotten Tomatoes scores (this writer included), but 760 men. And she cited the New York Film Critics Circle roster as including only two women, but that’s not quite right — the membership information available on the group's Web site says there are six women: Melissa Anderson, Karen Durbin, Farran Smith Nehme, Dana Stevens, Amy Taubin, and Stephanie Zacharek. Still, there are 25 men.
While promoting "Suffragette," the historical drama coming to theaters October 23, Streep has had multiple opportunities to talk about the history of women’s rights and the ongoing fight; she also ran into controversy when calling herself a “humanist” rather than a feminist, in an interview with an accompanying photograph that also drew fire. Given the chance to respond to the “humanist” thing, Streep seemed to settle on a "do as a I do, not as I say" approach:
"There's a phrase in this film that says 'deeds not words' and that’s sort of where I stand on that. I let the actions of my life stand for what I am as a human being. Contend with that, not the words."
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Photo Credit: John Phillips via Getty Images