Our Onscreen Mirror:
Women Past Midlife in Movies and Television

The motto of Geena Davis’ Institute on Gender in the Media is “If She Can See It, She Can Be It.” Davis believes that when people see characters like themselves in powerful roles onscreen, it empowers them in real life. The converse may also be true: When people are invisible in the media, their importance is deemphasized in society. Davis’ proposal to her peers in the industry had two steps.

Step One: Go through the projects you’re already working on and change a bunch of the characters’ first names to women’s names.

Step Two is, when describing a crowd scene, write in the script, ‘A crowd gathers, which is half female.’

To which we might add another step: Because about 20% of the women in the US are 65 or older, when casting women, include actresses over 65.

Movies & Shows 2
Stella Fosse

Shirley Valentine

This film adaptation of the successful London and Broadway show stars Pauline Collins as Shirley, a middle-aged woman in an endless homemaking rut. Shirley speaks

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Movies & Shows 4
Stella Fosse

Book Club

Four old friends in a book club read *Fifty Shades of Grey,* and are inspired to ramp up their sex lives. The women, played by

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Movies & Shows 5
Stella Fosse

Our Souls at Night

Jane Fonda was 79 and Robert Redford was 81 when they filmed this sweet movie about neighbors who slowly and carefully fall in love. Their

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Stella Fosse