Basmah Qazi

Why it’s time Hollywood lets go of ageist stereotypes

Why it’s time Hollywood lets go of ageist stereotypes

As we age, we start to become more aware of how the world stigmatises the elderly – especially in the realm of movies. We’re told we’re technologically illiterate and we’re frail and tired. These negative stereotypes are almost always associated with those in the senior age bracket, and it seems that actors and actresses over 60 are forced to play these roles as there is hardly anything of substance on offer.

According to a recent study by the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, ageism isn’t just insulting, but it’s also incredibly unhealthy.

Researchers analysed 4,066 speaking roles in the top grossing movies for 2015. They then made the grim discovery that only 11% of the speaking roles went to actors aged over 60.

What makes it even worse, is that half of these roles reinforced ageing stereotypes.

So what can we do to fight back?

Believe it or not, you have a lot more power than you assume. First things first, avoid any movies that show seniors in a negative light. Don’t give them your money and don’t take your grandchildren to watch them either. Also build awareness within yourself. When watching movies, pay attention to how the older character is portrayed.

And if they’re treated as an afterthought, remind yourself that people our age are accomplishing phenomenal things. They’re going back to school, taking up dance classes, starting technology companies and more.

We may be weak on the silver screen, but we’re powerful in real life.