Marvel’s latest entry into the neverending superhero canon, “Captain Marvel,” opens in theaters on March 8, but before star Brie Larson fights a rogue’s gallery of villains on screen, she’s on a heroic crusade against the real villains of modern-day America: White males.
Yes, Larson apparently went out of her way to survey the field of movie criticism and journalism, consult with social justice academics, and then specifically request that she be interviewed by “diverse” journalists while out on tour to promote the film. Truly, where would we be without real-life superheroes like Brie Larson?
Larson (who is also white, natch) kicked off her hero’s journey by sitting down for an interview with Marie Claire UK journalist Keah Brown, who earned this opportunity by being a black woman with cerebral palsy. Brown said in the piece, published Thursday, that Larson had “requested” her for the interview, thus handing her a “game-changing opportunity” to further her career. Naturally, she asked Larson why the Oscar-winner had requested her services. To no one’s surprise, it had little to do with Brown’s credentials.
“About a year ago, I started paying attention to what my press days looked like and the critics reviewing movies, and noticed it appeared to be overwhelmingly white male,” Larson said. “So, I spoke to Dr. Stacy Smith at the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, who put together a study to confirm that.”
The New York Post reports that this study found that white males make up 67% of the top movie critics, leaving women with a sad 25% of the pie.
Larson determined that this ratio was unacceptable, which led her to make her press junket “more inclusive” for minorities.
“After speaking with you, the film critic Valerie Complex and a few other women of color, it sounded like across the board they weren’t getting the same opportunities as others,” Larson said.
So. Larson spoke with two named individuals “and a few other women of color” and came to the conclusion that there was a systematic effort within the world of film journalism to keep black women out of the top spot, eh? Well that’s some mighty fine science.
And look, Larson is free to make whatever demands she’s afforded by her position in Hollywood, and we don’t have any particular problem with a black woman with cerebral palsy getting to interview her for Marie Claire. But to turn this into some kind of meaningful crusade is to say that there is a meaningful reason behind it. And it’s not obvious that there is.
Perhaps the study is true and white men do make up 67% of top journalists. But the missing question is: What percentage of “bottom” journalists do white men comprise? Are there equal numbers of black women and white men clawing for those limited top positions? Somehow we doubt it. Somehow we have a feeling that the 67% figure is a fair one, given the overall makeup of the profession.
We could be wrong, of course. Maybe you could fill a small nation with the number of underemployed black, female film critics who also happen to suffer from cerebral palsy. Maybe we’re at the point where we need Hollywood stars to finally step up and give these overlooked journalists the opportunities they deserve.
Or maybe this is just more social justice nonsense that aims to demonize white men for no other reason than it’s the “in” thing to do right now.