Perhaps trying to deflect attention away from those poorly thought out “I’d rather be a rebel than a slave” T-shirts for which she and her Suffragette co-stars have been critiqued over the past couple of days, The Daily Beast reports that Meryl Streep is going to war with one of Western culture’s holiest and most hallowed institutions: Rotten Tomatoes. (And, uh, the Catholic Church.)
“In the United States when people go to find a movie to watch at night, to go out to the movies they go to something called Rotten Tomatoes. So I went deep, deep, deep, deep into Rotten Tomatoes,” she said, claiming to have counted all of the female critics whose opinions count towards the site’s weighted Tomatometer rankings. (Full disclosure: Hi, Meryl.) She claims to have found only 186 female critics to 760 male ones, meaning that—assuming Rotten Tomatoes wields any actual power with the American moviegoing public—male opinions wield a disproportionate influence over what people go to see, and therefore box-office receipts.
76 percent male representation on a review aggregate website does appear to be a symptom of a larger disease. (Food for thought: Why did Maxim run two film reviews on its website last month, and Cosmopolitan zero? They’re both pretty frothy magazines.) But, according to Streep, “I submit to you that men and women are not the same, they like different things. Sometimes they like the same thing but sometimes their tastes diverge,” a statement that evokes mixed feelings in this writer, who, like all critics, likes to think her opinions are informed by her knowledge of film history and not by hormones or whatever. And Streep also doesn’t identify herself as a feminist despite her vocal critiques of sexism in the media, so sometimes The A.V. Club and Meryl Streep like the same thing, and sometimes our tastes diverge.
Oh, and she called Vatican City sexist for not letting women vote, which, fair enough.