It's no secret that the film industry isn't the most inclusive, accessible or safe space for women, one of the matters that the #MeToo and #TimesUp campaigns have been addressing over the past six months. It's also a subject that Frances McDormand highlighted in her rousing best actress acceptance speech at this year's Oscars, when she had the whole world scrambling to look up two words: inclusion rider.
The industry's gender imbalance not only encompasses the treatment of women involved in filmmaking in front of and behind the lens, however, but also the field of film criticism. Take Rotten Tomatoes, for example. If it's your go-to review aggregator, then you've probably noticed that the bulk of critics listed are men. Indeed, according to a 2016 study by the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film, men outnumber women on the site by 73 percent to 27 percent.
It's a topic that everyone from Jessica Chastain to Meryl Streep to Reese Witherspoon has drawn attention to in recent years, and now a new initiative is aiming to offer an alternative. That'd be CherryPicks, which will exclusively focus on female film critics. Expected to launch later this year, it'll provide "perspectives on film, tv, music, and more with reviews, ratings and high quality original content, all though a female lens," as its website explains. "This is where you can find out what women like, and what they don't," the site continues, in an aim to more accurately represent the full spectrum of critical voices.
The project spearheaded by director, producer, actor and distributor Miranda Bailey and author, producer and entrepreneur Rebecca Odes. Speaking to IndieWire, Bailey noted the need for the film industry to not only change to "include more minorities and females on both sides of the camera", but to "change the perceived desires of consumers" as well. "How can we possibly change what consumers consider good and worthy content if the majority of critics who tell them what to want are predominately older white males?" she asked.
CherryPicks will rate films on its own scale, ranging from a 'Bowl of Cherries' to 'The Pits', while also analysing each title's representation of women and considerations appropriate to women according to its own 'Cherry Check' system. In addition, it'll feature newsletters, podcasts, lists, articles and more, and spotlight women — critics, filmmakers, actors, writers and other creatives — working across the movie business.