Russell Crowe had an interview where he moaned about women moaning about their inability to get decent roles once they get older,
[the roles have dried up] is the woman who at 40, 45, 48, still wants to
play the ingénue, and can’t understand why she’s not being cast as the
He namechecked Meryl Streep and Helen Mirren as two women who show that it’s possible to get decent roles, yet when he tries to go for the trifecta of names he can only come up with ‘whoever’.
Jezebel take him to task, showing that there are many men who are allowed to continue playing roles that defy their ages (leading to the creation of a new genre - geri-action) yet women have definite ‘best before’ dates.
Alan Titchmarsh had a moan a while ago about women complaining about sexism, saying that they had easier careers at the beginning, so tough luck if it’s harder at the end. The thing he misses is that he was never chosen to host Gardener’s World because of his looks yet many of his female co-hosts over the years and on various programmes clearly have been. What he really meant to say was that ‘pretty women had easier starts to their careers’ - what about all those women who would have been fantastic, charismatic hosts but never got past the interview because of their looks?
It’s easy to say, it’s just TV and films, who really cares, but it’s a really visible expression of the sexism in society. It also lets that sexism continue as people grow up thinking it’s normal. People moaning about quotas on panel shows and the like miss the point - there are plenty of capable women and minorities who could easily match (or outclass) the men usually chosen, but by preventing them from becoming more visible, it subconsciously suggests to everyone watching that this is a ‘man’s’ job otherwise there would be more women there already. It’s frustrating.
However, one positive change is that, at least in the article in the Indy, instead of just reporting on the interview they did a little editorialising and added that both Helen Mirren and Meryl Streep have both pointed out that they are the exceptions to the rule, and that good roles for older women are few and far between in contrast to the roles for men. Maybe papers are finally stopping just blindly accepting the word of these men and seeing if they’re talking rubbish.