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The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

Ageism relevant in actors’ careers

   When a person describes a typical modern movie, they state that the criteria must have action, romance, and comedy. These apply heavily to all films, especially to those starring young and upcoming actors of the modern-day. However, people have begun to forget older actors who have paved the way for the entertainment industry because of ageism. 

  Ageism in the entertainment world can be defined as discrimination in obtaining a leading role based on age. This is especially evident in female actors over the age of 30. 

  However, age is irrelevant in films such as the ongoing production of “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny”, which stars Harrison Ford, at age 80. Women have to work harder in the entertainment industry than men, dut to gender inequality and ageism.

   According to the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, “of all [age] 50+ characters, men are 4 out of 5 in film, 3 out of 4 in broadcast television, and 2 out of 3 in streaming television.”

  It is unjust that men have a wide variety of narratives to share in their leading roles as they age. It is an outdated double standard that is also offensively arbitrary. It devalues women increasingly as more filmmakers insist on it.

  Women over the age of 50 are frequently cast in supporting and small roles on television and film, and their characters are less likely to be developed. This is due to the entertainment industry’s unrealistic beauty standard that women’s physical beauty fades away as the years pass.

   Unfortunately, it is even worse for more established actors that are women of color. According to Outlook India, It took the 60-year-old Academy Award-winning actress Michelle Yeoh close to 40 years to win an Oscar. 

   Making history as the first Asian woman to win an Academy Award for best lead actress, Yeoh stated in her acceptance speech, “Ladies…never let anybody tell you that you are past your prime.”

  What is actually needed are movies where a woman’s age is only one of several descriptions, rather than a definition. More stories should be told of women in their 50s, 60s, and well beyond. By doing this, younger generations can be inspired by the stories of older actors, as it will become a standard. 

   For instance, Meryl Streep has won three Academy Awards, and nine golden globes, according to IMDb. At the age of 73, Streep is a household name. She adapted to the changing times and defied ageism. 

   Currently, older actors have resorted to developing their own production companies in order to produce movies that have a more seasoned cast. Actor Reese Witherspoon created her own production company, Hello Sunshine, to combat ageism, hiring a wider range of ages and placing women at the forefront of stories.

   As actors age, women are taking initiative and control of their own careers by challenging men that are cast more often in leading roles. Therefore, all actors should have equal opportunities in the entertainment industry.

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About the Contributor
Bren Belmonte
Bren Belmonte, Staff Writer
Bren Belmonte is a Photographer and Staff Writer with three years of experience on our newspaper team. Outside of journalism, Bren enjoys cosplaying, photographing friends, reading manga, watching anime, and listening to music. Bren chose the journalism class in sophomore year after encouragement from family members in the industry. Since then, they've recognized it as a future passion and career interest.
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