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Meryl Streep says gender inequality in film criticism is ‘infuriating’

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Craig Ruttle/AP

Meryl Streep stars in the upcoming Suffragette as British women’s rights leader Emmeline Pankhurst, but in real life, she’s fought for gender equality in filmmaking, funding a screenwriting lab for women over 40 and calling for more female protagonists. Now, at a BFI London Film Festival press conference for Suffragette, she’s spoken out about gender imbalance in film criticism, calling out Rotten Tomatoes as an example.

“I went deep, deep, deep, deep into Rotten Tomatoes, and I counted how many contributors there were — critics and bloggers and writers,” she said, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “And of those allowed to rate on the Tomatometer, there are 168 women. And I thought, ‘that’s absolutely fantastic.’ And then, if there were 168 men, it would be balanced. If there were 268 men, it would be unfair but I’d get used to it. If there were 368, 468, 568…. Actually there are 760 men who weigh in on the Tomatometer.”

She also called out the New York Film Critics Circle, saying that she found 37 men listed on their site and only two women. (The New York Film Critics Circle website currently lists six women as members and 25 men.)

“The word isn’t ‘disheartening,’ it’s ‘infuriating,’” she said. “I submit to you that men and women are not the same. They like different things. Sometimes they like the same things, but their tastes diverge. If the Tomatometer is slided so completely to one set of tastes, that drives box office in the U.S., absolutely.”

Suffragette, which also stars Carey Mulligan as a working-class woman drawn into the suffrage movement in early 20th-century Britain, his U.S. theaters on Oct. 23.