'Who decides what’s good? When it comes to art, the answer is usually: men.'
Words by Anna Clarke
A new female-focussed reviewing site, CherryPicks, dubbed the ‘Rotten Tomatoes for women’ is ensuring more female film critics are having their voice heard.
News of the soon-to-be launched CherryPicks was announced at the South by Southwest Music and Media Conference in Austin as an alternative to male-dominated reviewing sites. It will include aggregated reviews from critics identifying as women, covering films, music and video games.
‘Women consume half the media in the world. But the voices that tell us what to watch and listen to are overwhelmingly male. It’s time to change that,’ states CherryPicks’ website.
Rotten Tomatoes has, in the past, gotten into hot water over the lack of diversity in their reviewers. A 2016 study — carried out by San Diego State University’s Center for the Study of Women in Television & Film — found that just 27% of the Top Critics on Rotten Tomatoes are women compared to 73% men.
And actress Meryl Streep even took the site to task at a press conference for her film Suffragette, reports Vulture, describing how the numbers of men rating on the Tomatometer vastly outnumbered the women.
‘I went deep, deep, deep, deep,’ she said, ‘Of those allowed to rate on the Tomatometer, there are 168 women. And I thought, that’s absolutely fantastic,’ ‘Actually there are 760 men who weigh in on the Tomatometer.’
CherryPicks is the brainchild of Miranda Bailey, producer of The Squid And The Whale and The Diary Of A Teenage Girl, and Rebecca Odes, co-creator of WIFEY.TV
The new review site will have a multi-level rating system, with four tiers:
Bowl of Cherries: You can’t miss it.
Pair of Cherries: Good.
Single Cherry: Mixed.
The Pits: Don’t bother
In an interview with Vulture, Bailey described why she was inspired to create CherryPicks:
‘So what I wanted to do with CherryPicks is have a place where I could go or where women could go and go, “Well, what do my fellow women think about this film? What do my fellow women think about this concert? What do they think about this video game?”’
‘The Zookeeper’s Wife, predominantly male critics did not like that film, and all the women that I talked to did, and the female critics did like that film, so there was a real difference there. There are so many women that were not able to go out and see that movie because there’s just a splat and their husbands don’t want to go with them because they’re like, “Oh, look, Rotten Tomatoes doesn’t like it.”‘
CherryPicks has already gained some very high-profile fans, including Reese Witherspoon, who tweeted her support for it.
CherryPicks will be launch this autumn, so stay tuned.