Rotten Tomatoes may have changed the way the internet consumes film criticism, but certainly not from whom that criticism comes. Men account for 73% of the top critics on Rotten Tomatoes, men who ultimately shape the narrative of what is and is not considered a "good" movie.
That's where CherryPicks comes in.
Created by director/producer Miranda Bailey and Rebecca Odes, who has been at the forefront of intersectional feminist media thanks to GURL.com and wifey.tv, CherryPicks will focus on film criticism from the point of view of women.
"Women consume half the media in the world. But the voices that tell us what to watch and listen to are overwhelmingly male," CherryPicks says on their website. "It’s time to change that. CherryPicks is a new venture dedicated to the female critical voice. We’ll bring you a unique and nuanced perspective on film, tv, music, and more with reviews, ratings and high quality original content, all though a female lens."
Today, CherryPicks brought their ladyshow on the road, presenting their panel "Why Does a Critic's Gender Matter?" at SXSW. Featuring Bailey, Ann Powers (NPR Music), Claudia Puig (LA Film Critics Association) and actress Samantha Mathis, the panel discussed the limited female representation in film and music criticism.
The site will establish its own rating system, ranging from Bowl of Cherries (best) to The Pits (obvously), as well as expand on the Bechdel Test, the commonly used metric for determining how a film uses its female characters.
“For years now, our industry has been proclaiming that we need change to include more minorities and females on both sides of the camera. This would be impossible to do in a speedy fashion, unless we can change the perceived desires of consumers,” Bailey said. “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? I’m hoping CherryPicks will prove that female artists, crew, and stories are valuable for our industry to invest in, thereby influencing Hollywood to move towards equality in a more timely fashion.”
CherryPicks is everything we've been waiting for in film criticism—with a cherry on top.