When shopping around for new viewing material, cast a skeptical eye upon IMDB ratings for things seen as “girly,” because there’s a good chance that opinions from dudes are dragging down the average.
FiveThirtyEight took a look at IMDB ratings based on whether reviewers identified themselves as male or female. Sex and the City, for instance, “has an overall rating of 7.0 on a scale from 1 to 10 — the average score of an English-language television series with 1,000 or more ratings is 7.3.” Why wouldn’t such an influential show—one that racked up numerous awards and still boasts plenty of dedicated fans—eke out at least a slightly higher-than-average rating? (Remember, it’s competing with a lot of crap.)
Nearly 60 percent of the people who rated “Sex and the City” on IMDb are women, and looking only at those scores, the show has an 8.1. That’s well above average. Male users, though, who made up just over 40 percent of “Sex and the City” raters, assigned it, on average, a 5.8 rating. Oof.
“Seventy percent of IMDb TV show raters are men, according to my analysis, and that results in shows with predominantly female audiences getting screwed,” concludes author Walt Hickey. Male reviewers consistently rate shows with largely female audiences lower. Then there are the one-star reviews:
When you look at shows that have at least 10,000 ratings and raters who skewed male or female, a different picture emerges. Of the top 100 shows that skewed male, 3.3 percent of female votes were 1 out of 10. But of the top 100 shows that skewed female, 6.7 percent of male votes were 1 out of 10. That’s a pretty huge difference.
One of the reasons you should never trust IMDB or Rotten Tomatoes when considering whether to re-watch a girlhood classic like Now and Then.