How We Grade

The Mediaversity grade does NOT just reflect the technical aspects of a show or film. Cinematography, writing, soundtrack, editing? Thatโ€™s what every other review site is for. Instead, the Mediaversity grade reflects how inclusive a program is and should be used as a tool to view media within its broader social context. In fact, a program can be a critically acclaimed but if it isnโ€™t inclusive, it will score low at Mediaversity. And if that bothers you, youโ€™re probably in the wrong place.

Our scoring system prioritizes intersectionality. While deep, social impact for narrow groups is crucial in the ongoing fight for onscreen representation, culture blogs are already fantastic sources for those types of discussions. Instead, Mediaversity takes the macro view and measures how well a TV show or film presents different and overlapping identities.


The Context

To give context, we list the gender, ethnicity, nationality, and LGBTQ status of show/film creators and reviewers alike.

๐Ÿ‘ฉ = Female

๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿ‘จ = Non-binary or Agender

๐Ÿ‘จ = Male

๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿพ = Black

๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿฝ = Latinx, South Asian, Native, Mixed, or MENA

๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿป = East Asian

๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿผ = White

๐ŸŒˆ = LGBTQ (publicly)


The Grade

To assign a grade, we add up the category scores, add or deduct bonus points if applicable, then divide by the number of categoriesโ€”4 for TV shows, 3 for films. No grade inflation here; a C is average, a B is good, and As are only for the outstanding.

A+  (5.0) โ€” This some woke shit.

A  (4.70 - 4.99) โ€” Inclusive AF and damned well-made.

A-  (4.50 - 4.69) โ€” Inclusive AF.

B+  (4.20 - 4.49) โ€” Nailed it, just maybe not in all categories.

B  (4.00 - 4.19) โ€” Great job, just maybe not in all categories.

B-  (3.60 - 3.99) โ€” All we ask is that you try, and try you did.

C+  (3.40 - 3.59) โ€” Chilling in that inoffensive groove.

C  (3.20 - 3.39) โ€” Diversity was not a priority.

C-  (2.60 - 3.19) โ€” I spy missteps.

D  (2.00 - 2.59) โ€” These creators don't see race.

F  (1.00 - 1.99) โ€” How was this greenlit?

 

Read on to see how we score each category.


Technical

A 3/5 in Technical means a show or film was enjoyable, if forgettable. This category reflects traditional metrics such as character development, dialogue, soundtrack, cinematography, and so on. 

We include technical merit into the Mediaversity score because complex characters, fresh narratives, and compelling art direction are inextricable from diverse storytelling. You can't be super diverse if all your characters are flat, and you can't be strong on technical merit if your casting is tone-deaf or retreading old territory.

[Please note: reviews written before 2018 use the category title of "Quality" instead of "Technical", but content remains the same.]

Gender

A 3/5 in Gender means female characters were written respectfully but still had unequal screen time and/or complexity in comparison to the male characters.

Questions we consider when scoring:

  • Are there at least two female characters who have a conversation that isnโ€™t about men? (Also known as the Bechdel Test.)

  • NUMBERS - Are women featured equally to men in terms of screen and speaking time?

  • DEPTH - Are they represented as nuanced, three-dimensional characters?

  • POSITIVITY - Do they fall into any stereotypes or tropes?

Race

A 3/5 in Race means people of color were written respectfully, but their characters were less complex than the white characters or were underrepresented.

Questions we consider when scoring:

  • NUMBERS - Are different ethnic groups represented proportionately to their real-world setting?

  • DEPTH - Are characters of color written as nuanced, three-dimensional characters?

  • POSITIVITY - Do they fall into any stereotypes or tropes?

LGBTQ

This category is scored for TV shows only. For films that cover LGBTQ themes, we factor in inclusiveness through Bonus Points or Deductions.

For TV, a 3/5 in LGBTQ means the culture was treated respectfully. No TV show can score higher than a 3.5/5 without the inclusion of an actual LGBTQ character.

Questions we consider when scoring:

  • NUMBERS - Are LGBTQ characters represented proportionately to their real-world setting (at least 1 in every 25 characters)?

  • DEPTH - Are LGBTQ characters written as nuanced, three-dimensional characters?

  • POSITIVITY - Do they fall into any stereotypes or tropes?

Bonus Points/Deductions

Any media that sheds light on an underrepresented group will score points at Mediaversity, especially if they have suffered from onscreen marginalizing in the past. On the flipside, stereotypes will get deductions.

Themes that may score bonus points or deductions include representation of disability, seniors, religion, or body diversity.

For more details on how we grade, see our writing handbooks for TV or film reviews.


About Mediaversity

Our mission is to diversify onscreen representation. While no story will ever be an exact microcosm of Americaโ€”nor should it beโ€”our reviews strive to be a tool for people who consume their media pro-actively instead of passively.

So when we say โ€œdiversifyโ€, what does that mean? Letโ€™s look to the real world for pointers:

  • 51% of U.S. residents are female

  • 39% of U.S. residents are people of color

  • 19% of U.S. residents have a physical or mental disability

  • 4% or more of U.S. residents identify as LGBTQ

Until the TV and film industries reflect the true face of our country, Mediaversity will be here calling them out and applauding good work.


 Li Lai, founder of Mediaversity Reviews

Li Lai, founder of Mediaversity Reviews

Mediaversity is the passion project of Li Lai, a visual designer and data nerd based in New York City. She is sick of randos on the street calling her a ninja and wants television and film to become the first line of defense against stereotyping.

Contributors

๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐ŸŒˆ Ruksana Faraon writes film reviews, media crit, and weird fiction. She loves bright colors, worldbuilding, punchy dialogue, trees, cold weather, warm people, and stories about queer women. 

๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง๐ŸŒˆ Laura Hindley blogs about women in the entertainment industry for Strong Female Lead. She loves cats, books, travel, and films starring Cate Blanchett.

๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Monique Jones is an entertainment journalist, blogger, and founder of JUST ADD COLOR, a multicultural pop culture site. Her writing has been featured on Ebony.comComic Book ResourcesEntertainment Weekly's Community BlogThe Miami New Times, and more.

๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Dana Sloane is a fangirl and research scientist who started studying media representation after a graduate school paper advocating to make the Bechdel Test a network standard spun out of control. She collects DVD box sets of TV shows in the hopes that it will prove useful in the zombie apocalypse.

๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Mirelle Tinker is currently studying television, writing, and international business at Ithaca College. She has written for the Tempest and Darling Media.

๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Mimi Wong has worked in film and television. She also writes fiction, and is especially passionate about reading and supporting diverse authors.

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