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Lisa Moore does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment. Research from found that older women are often relegated to supporting roles in films — or are consistently portrayed as grumpy, frumpy or senile. The study analysed representations of older adults, in the top-grossing films of in Germany, France, the UK and the US — with a specific focus on women aged 50 and over. And when older women did appear, they were cast stereotypically.
Similarly, an analysis of over 10, films made in the UK between and found the gender mix in UK film casts has not improved since the end of the second world war. Female actors have also tended to make fewer films and have had shorter careers than male actors. The analysis also found that unnamed characters who work in high-skilled occupations, such as a doctor, are also much more likely to be portrayed by men.
Caroline Noakes MP, the chair of the women and inequalities committee, has highlighted this issue on Twitter saying she has written to Ofcom to ask for a meeting about the under representation of women aged over 45 by UK broadcasters. And when older women are shown, TV and film casting often favours women who have bodies that are the shapes and sizes of younger women. Research from the US has linked this to eating disorders and negative body image in older women.
The same goes for women behind the camera. Victoria Mapplebeck, professor in digital arts at Royal Holloway University of London has recently written about how she was unable to continue working as a film director after she had . She writes:.
Back then you were expected to work long hours and weekends. I knew this would be impossible while raising my son alone. Unable to get funding, she took matters into her own hands and used to iPhone to make a new documentary. She won a Bafta for her smartphone short Missed Call. I have recently written and performed a spoken word piece to raise awareness of this issue, in support of the Acting your Age campaign, which calls for equal career trajectory for men and women in the entertainment industry.
Hugh Quarshie, a Ghanaian-born British actor, who has also backed the campaign, likened the invisibility of older women on screen to past black representations in TV and film. He says serious pressure must be put on the producers and broadcasters to provoke rapid change and deal with the problem of invisibility. In the age of multiple streaming services, this should be possible.
Particularly so given that women watch and stream more TV shows than men. Edition: Available editions United Kingdom. Lisa Moore , University of Salford.Older women only 35
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Contraception at age 35 years and older