Big News: There's Sexism and Ageism in Hollywood

by Sidra M. S. Vitale

I was watching one of those entertainment shows [Extra, or Access Hollywood, or both], and there was this segment on over-40 actresses, no doubt due to the systemic shock of having Judi Dench get an Oscar nod.

The segment hit on several 'mature' actresses, and a few remarks on ageism in the industry. There was this blurb on a project Susan Sarandon and Goldie Hawn are doing together [looks neat], and a little snippet of interview with Rene Russo on the remake of The Thomas Crown Affair she did, where everyone was just agog over the fact that she and Pierce Brosnan are, like, the same age.

Gosh! They can still act over 40! No frickin duh.

It was a fine segment, I have no objections to it, and I'm glad to see that
a) women are, albeit too slowly, accumulating more power in Hollywood; opening their own production companies, directing stellar films, etc.
b) some actors are actually willing to comment on Hollywood's ageism and sexist practices.

These are all good, important things. To the average schmuck, the entertainment industry is just this glittery machine, and you don't see the pain, the effort, the screwing people over, the screwing people to get the job, the day-to-day doing the job, any of it, really. And I think it's important to tear those walls down and bring this idea of celebrity back down to earth and start treating actors as human beings instead of cardboard cutouts.

What blew me away was this feeling during the segment of WOW! There's ageism and sexism in Hollywood! Oh My God: This is Big News!

Yeah, 50-plus male actors cast with 20-something female leads. Big surprise. What, are you telling me you hadn't noticed?

And if you honestly, honestly, have never thought about this before, I suggest you take a look around, and ask yourself why.

Copyright © 2002 by Sidra M. S. Vitale

02/08/07 at 21:42