Articles

Uncovering the Hidden Bias: A Study on Ageism in Hollywood's Portrayal of Ageing Femininities in Romantic Comedies (2000-2021)

Authors
  • Femke De Sutter orcid logo (Ghent University)
  • Sofie Van Bauwel

Abstract

Recently, the media has been highlighting the increasing presence of older women on screen. However, it is important to examine whether this is the case and how exactly older women are being portrayed. This research examined the representations of older women in Hollywood romantic comedies released from 2000 to 2021. To assess diversity and stereotypes, forty-four popular films were analysed. Here we identified, in twenty of the forty-four films, one or more characters aged 60 and over. Results indicate that, while the number of older female characters was high compared to other studies, their diversity was rather limited. Most characters were in their early sixties, white, middle-class, able-bodied, and heterosexual. Characters from ethnic minorities, sexual minorities and with disabilities were almost absent. Stereotypes, such as the Golden Ager and the Shrew, were frequently used. This confirms the dominant discourse on older women, which leads to negative attitudes towards ageing. 

Keywords: Hollywood romantic comedies, Quantitative content analysis, Age stereotypes, Representation, Gendered Ageism

How to Cite:

De Sutter, F. & Van Bauwel, S., (2023) “Uncovering the Hidden Bias: A Study on Ageism in Hollywood's Portrayal of Ageing Femininities in Romantic Comedies (2000-2021)”, DiGeSt - Journal of Diversity and Gender Studies 10(1): 2, 18-34. doi: https://doi.org/10.21825/digest.85865

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Published on
26 Jun 2023
Peer Reviewed