Roger Ebert Home

Welcome to Women Writers Week 2018

In December 2013, as an experiment, we turned over to our women writers for a week, giving them free rein to write articles and movie reviews from a female perspective. It was so successful, both in terms of articles of interest and reader response, that it became a fixture that we moved to March in celebration of National Women’s Month. (See our tables of contents from 20132016 and 2017). Today we continue that tradition. Back in 2013 the issues we were pondering seemed so innocent in retrospect: how men and women differed in their thought processes and whether it affected how male and female critics rated the movies. But oh how times have changed.

There is speculation in the industry that with the light shed on allegations of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct Hollywood is currently undergoing the most seismic transformation since 1967. With the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements aiming to give voice to those women who have been abused and silenced, while ousting those men who have abused their power, the feminine consciousness is undoubtedly on the rise throughout our country. The misogyny and lack of empathy displayed at the highest levels of our government has caused people from all walks of life to say "enough is enough" and to stand up for what they believe in. We are hoping that the movements will also create true equality in opportunities for women and people of color.

To those movements I would like to add a another hashtag, Speak Up! (#SpeakUp). The cartoon at the head of this article showing the chairman suggesting that a woman executive's suggestion was good, but perhaps should be made by a man, was once thought of as mildly amusing. However, it contains such a painful seed of truth of something that happened in boardrooms for so long that it is disgusting. It reminds me of the scene in Steven Spielberg's recent movie "The Post," where Meryl Streep (as Katharine Graham, head of the Washington Post) was in a meeting where she had the ultimate authority. But not only was she afraid to speak up (even though she knew the subject matter frontwards and backwards), but those few times when she did speak, her voice was effectively muted. The men at the table acted as if they didn't hear it. And in an odd way, they didn't. Not until the same thing was uttered by a male colleague who was sitting right next to her.

This muting of voices in a business or political environment is as detrimental to women's progress as the muting of complaints about sexual misconduct. And probably has just as many "me too" moments. It had become culturally acceptable to treat women as second class citizens and disregard what they said. But now in the current environment when women are finally being not only listened to, but believed, there is hope. So we have to use our voices to #SpeakUp for what is right and against what is wrong. And judging from the brave voices of young women like Emma Gonzalez and Naomi Wadler speaking out about gun control, change is afoot.

Some people suggest, however, that women have gone too far. Who will be left to lead if we bring all this to light and cause men to lose their jobs and their power? Well, King George III thought the same thing about the liberation of the colonies, and the United States emerged just fine. Slave owners thought the same thing about the Thirteenth Amendment and the abolition of chattel slavery and African-Americans emerged just fine. Freeing women from worries about sexual harassment and the fear of speaking up about this and other issues can only be good for our society. Women will emerge just fine. And so will men. We can only benefit from a more egalitarian and empathetic society where everyone is treated with dignity and respect, and not held back because of their race or gender. 

I have always firmly believed that being introduced to diverse critical voices and opinions in the arts affects how we see the world but also has a profound influence on how we begin to heal it. It is our responsibility as publishers and editors to lift up those voices that seek to nurture and educate and unite us. This week at, those voices will be the voices of women.   

In the same way that 2013 was a different time, some of the articles our writers have chosen to write about in 2018 differ as well. Women no longer want to be slut-shamed for feelings of sexuality or decisions about what we do with our bodies. Our bodies our choice. We also no longer want to minimize the powerful and omnipotent feelings of carrying a new life in our wombs and giving birth to a creature who is just as awe-inspiring as the universe. You will hear the voices of our writers on topics such as how to shoot a sex scene that is pleasing to women. And in a twist, a subject that I had not thought about as a woman, do women who give birth by Caesarean section feel marginalized in the way they are depicted in the movies. On a separate thread, before Stormy Daniels there was Tempest Storm. How does the previous Storm view her life in the midst of the #MeToo Teapot, and how do we view her? And we will explore a viewpoint about "Phantom Thread" and the need of men to be tamed.

We will have articles about employment equality in Hollywood; disability access in theaters and a conversation with three women critics on the importance of "Working Girl" on its thirtieth anniversary. We will also have reviews of new releases like Spielberg's "Ready Player One," as well as the pros and cons of the reboot of "Roseanne." These are only a sampling of the many articles and reviews we will bring you, so please check back everyday here at, and look for a compilation of all the articles as they are published in our Table of Contents.

Some of our writers have written previously for us and some are new, but you will enjoy articles by Christy Lemire, Sheila O'Malley, Susan Wloszczyna, Jana Monji, Nell Minow, Jessica Ritchey, Joyce Kulhawik, Tina Hassania, Tomris Laffly, Olivia Collette, Allison Shoemaker, Carrie Rickey, Shelley Farmer, Elena Lazic, Violet LeVoit, Kristen Lopez, Jennifer Merin, Justine Smith and more.

In previous years I quoted broadcaster and film critic Joyce Kulhawik who once said she looked around in 2011 and was shocked at how little power women wielded in the world: "...women {were} underserved, undervalued, underrepresented and underpaid." In the year 2018, I say with cautious optimism to my friend, Joyce, we are finally beginning to change that. 

Chaz Ebert

Chaz Ebert

Chaz is the CEO of several Ebert enterprises, including the President of The Ebert Company Ltd, and of Ebert Digital LLC, Publisher of, President of Ebert Productions and Chairman of the Board of The Roger and Chaz Ebert Foundation, and Co-Founder and Producer of Ebertfest, the film festival now in its 24th year.

Latest blog posts

Latest reviews

Hit Man
STAX: Soulsville, USA
Back to Black


comments powered by Disqus