Mind the Age-Gap: The Dismissal of Older Women

Image Credit: Margot Noyelle on Unsplash

By Eliza Gill 

After the release of Don’t Look Up, the beloved Leonardo DiCaprio came under fire. He stated in an interview that he “didn’t like” seeing Meryl Streep naked and sporting a lower-back tattoo. “Do you really need to show that?”, he begged on set.  In The Wolf of Wall Street, Margot Robbie was naked, or in little clothing, for the majority of the film. Why then, is Meryl Streep not allowed to be naked, but her younger colleagues are?

Hollywood is a prime example of the dismissal of older women. A study has shown that in 2019, no women over the age of 50 were cast in leading roles. When they were cast, they were typecast as unattractive (17%), grumpy (32%), and unfashionable (18%). Even if they manage to get screen-time, they have slim chances of getting dialogue. 

A survey by Polygraph found that women over the age of 65 spoke 3% of the dialogue in their films. It seems that an older woman being cast as a lead actress today is more scandalous than showing ankles in the Victorian times. It is clear that older women in Hollywood are overlooked in films which are made by, you guessed it, men. With this in mind, here is the ultimate guide to ageing as a woman in modern society.

Listen Up, Old Hags: 6 Rules for Ageing Women

  1. Don’t get wrinkles

If you do, pump your face full of botox and pretend they were never there. You’re a woman, after all, you’re not supposed to show signs that you’re getting older. In fact, you’re not allowed to get older. Age backwards. 

  1. Don’t go grey 

Your hair must remain full and luscious. If it doesn’t, they will say you look ropey and frail. Dye it, get extensions, do whatever you can. Just don’t go grey. You can’t pull it off – we aren’t ‘silver foxes’, we’re grey badgers. 

  1. Quick! Get Married!

If you aren’t already – which you should be – get married. If you don’t, you’re destined to get a peculiar obsession with cats. It’s ok though, you can knit them a hat or something. The clock is ticking, remember. Don’t let a silly career get in the way of your destiny.

  1. Be graceful 

That’s it! Stop drinking, stop partying, stop being charismatic. No piercings, no tattoos. Remember, you are now bitter and twisted. You spend your time in your basement looking in the mirror and cursing younger women. At least, that’s what Disney says you do.

  1. Take up knitting 

Along with your new hobby of cursing younger women, you must take up knitting. Our bodies have fulfilled their duty to pop out children, now we become bound to a chair, destined to knit ourselves to death…that’s all we’re good for now, right? 

  1. Just don’t get older

Don’t grow old, you’re not allowed. Who do you think you are? A man? 

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