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Women, Aging and Hollywood

by Melissa Silverstein and Kerensa Cadenas
June 12, 2013 10:00 AM
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In recent interviews, both Kim Cattrall and Susan Sarandon have both spoken about aging in Hollywood. Neither had good things to say about their experiences.

Cattrall, who is in London starring in the Tennesee Williams play Sweet Bird of Youth as aging Hollywood starlet Alexandra Del Lago called out the ageism in Hollywood in recent interviews.

In the Daily Mail, Cattrall comments on the lack of older women naked onscreeen.

We get covered up, we disappear, not to be seen, because we are no longer young and beautiful and sexually desirable. That's such a shame because everywhere else in the world they prop older women up on statues and platforms and podiums, saying, 'Not only is this a woman who is beautiful, but she has life experience too.'

She also comments on the "horrific" scrutiny of being an actress, something that never changes even despite your age.

Those are some of the reasons why Cattrall now spends her time on the stage and not in Hollywood.  Here's what she said to The Guardian.

I don't have a relationship with Hollywood now. You can't if you're over 40. It's a place where you go to make a lot of money and get out.

Susan Sarandon was as equally frank about aging as Cattrall in an interview for Oprah's Master Class. She told Oprah that many actresses couldn't make the transition once they aged--mostly because of the shift in the work they could get, as Sarandon explains.

You're so punished in this business. When people say, 'Do you think you've lost work because of your politics?' I say, 'No, You lose work because you get old and fat!' That's when they write you off in Hollywood.

While there are stories like the one in the Hollywood Reporter that we recently wrote about that discuss the successes of women over 40, this is the reality of two women working in the business.  It's not all rosy for women over 40.  Ageism and sexism are  deeply embedded in the industry and it is important to keep having the conversations and pushing for change. 

Watch a video of Sarandon talking about ageism in Hollywood below.

Kim Cattrall and Marianne Elliott on sex, age and Sweet Bird of Youth (The Guardian)

Kim Cattrall: Sexy, beautiful,'s a story close to my heart (Daily Mail)

Susan Sarandon On Aging In Hollywood And The 'Losing Battle' Women Shouldn't Fight (VIDEO) (Huffington Post)

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More: Susan Sarandon, Kim Cattrall, Ageism

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  • WS 230 - Katie | July 14, 2013 10:42 PMReply

    I never quite realized that we rarely see women over 40 years of age in new American movies. After reading this article I felt disappointed that American film makers do not have the same respect for older women as several other cultures do-- respecting them for their years of life and knowledge. In my women's studies class we watched a movie called Saving Face where a single women, Joan Chen, finds herself pregnant at the age of 48-- she did an excellent job in the movie as an older women despite her age. Not only did her age add a unique aspect to the film Saving Face but in this Chinese American film it is clean that older women over the age of 40 are respected and valued. I too feel that it is time for a change in American films, where ageism isn't an issue for women over the age of 40. Both of the women discussed in this article, are excellent actresses who should be give roles and respected for their beauty, knowledge and age.

  • AF | June 16, 2013 1:52 PMReply

    I count more than 2 names in the Hollywood reporter article. Things take time to change. Few years ago there was definitely no space for women over 40 now there are quite a few and the public likes them.

    I'd start writing about how phenomenal these women are in their roles instead of complaining that not enough women are given a role.

  • Amhare | June 12, 2013 12:54 PMReply


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