ITOL Editorial: We Need To Do Better

By Bianca Garner

Here are some statistics from the Women and Hollywood survey from 2018 that I would like to bring to your attention:

  • There are approximately 2 male reviewers for every 1 female reviewer. Men comprise 68% and women 32% of all film reviewers.
  • 83% of all female critics are white
  • 14% are minorities, and 3% have an unknown racial/ethnic identity
  • 82% of all male critics are white
  • 9% are minorities, and 9% have an unknown racial/ethnic identity

When I first heard of the discrepancies between the amount of male film critics versus female film critics, I knew that I really wanted to do something to make a difference. I wasn’t sure what, but I knew I had to try and help amplify the voices of female, trans gendered, and non-binary film critics. The beauty of film is that it’s truly unlike any other form of art; it’s something that can be easily accessible to so many of us, unlike theatre, for example. A good or even a bad film can connect with us and inspire discussion.

Everybody, from all walks of life, watches and enjoys film in some form or another. So, why should only an elite few get to participate in the discussion?

Slowly, the idea of setting up a film review site that focused primarily on women in film began to emerge. I always wanted to be as inclusive as possible and knew that many of my male friends and acquaintances were also huge fans of female filmmakers like Lynne Ramsay, Sofia Coppola, Kathryn Bigelow, and many others, so I wanted to ensure they were able to find a space at the table of discussion. Everyone should be included and nobody should ever be excluded because of their gender. 

“When I first heard of the discrepancies between the amount of male film critics versus female film critics, I knew that I really wanted to do something to make a difference. I wasn’t sure what, but I knew I had to try and help.”

I am so happy with the response to In Their Own League and how quickly the site has taken off; it’s been many months of blood, sweat, and tears, but it really has been worth it. However, I know there still is a lot of work to be done.

I know that as a site and a team, we have flaws, one of those being that we still remain predominantly white. And, I can’t help but remember those statistics. Out of all the female film critics currently working, only 14% come from a minority background. Knowing this statistic and reflecting on our own site, I can’t help but feel saddened by this. We can really do better, and we want to do better. We want to do whatever we can to make sure everybody is at that table of discussion, and we mean everybody

So, what’s next, and how can you help?

First, we want to add to our little team of writers. We would love to have a more diverse team; we want to offer a platform for all voices, for all writers from every background. You do not need to be a professional critic. You don’t need to be a film studies graduate or to have written for X-amount of years. All we ask is that you’re passionate about film and especially female filmmakers and other underrepresented groups in the film industry.

ITOL is a global team. We are made up of people spread out all across the world, and there’s a real sense of family here. We may not be the biggest or the most well-known site out there, but I know this for a fact: We have a team of lovely, kind people who will always go out of their way to support and nurture their fellow writers.

As I mentioned earlier, we really need to do better. As a CIS-gendered, heterosexual white woman, I address the fact that I am privileged, but that doesn’t mean that I can be ignorant, and it doesn’t mean that I can be passive. With In Their Own League, we have an opportunity to make a difference in the world of film criticism. I have real faith in this site and the team. I want ITOL to continue to grow, and as an editor, I want to grow with it. The first step of growth is to address your faults, and this is what this editorial is about.

“It’s been many months of blood, sweat and tears but it really has been worth it. However, I know there still is a lot of work to be done.”

Second, we are really working towards paying our writers. We currently have a Patreon, which you can find here. And, we would love it if people could help contribute towards that. Every dollar helps, and in the next coming months, we will have more exclusive content just for our patrons. We understand how difficult it is for inspiring critics to make a living, and how much of their efforts go unrewarded. Therefore, we want to do our utmost best to give something back to our team of hardworking, dedicated writers who produce such brilliant, thought-provoking, and interesting content. 

Although at this stage we can’t pay any writers, we are working towards changing this. We hope to set up our own Etsy store and begin selling merchandise (including t-shirts like the ones below), and every penny will go towards supporting our writers and running the site.

Third, we would love it if people could regularly share our content. We can only grow if our readership and following grow. Every tweet and every share helps to spread our ITOL brand, and I hope you’ll share this article so we build up our team of writers and also build up our Patreon.

Thank you for taking the time to read this piece. I also would like to extend my gratitude to each and every last writer who has contributed to the site over the last twelve months.

If you would like to join our team, then please drop us an email at intheirownleague@gmail.com. Here’s to the future, and let’s keep on shattering the celluloid ceiling together.

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