"The outcry over the lack of diversity at Hollywood’s premier award show has failed to recognize the value of senior voices on screen. While 2016 best picture nominated films are more diverse when it comes to gender and some racial and ethnic groups, ageism is still an accepted form of exclusion in cinematic storytelling." Stacy L. SmithA study led by Stacy L. Smith analysed 1.256 speaking or named characters in the 25 best picture-nominated films from 2014 to 2016. The results show that even in "the most critically acclaimed films", ageing characters were either underrepresented (only 11.8% were 60 years of age or older) or stereotypically portrayed (including e.g. comments such as "mentally feeble, sick old ladies" or "just sit here and let Alzheimer's run its course") (via). Of all "leads and co-leads driving the action, only one was a character 60 years of age or older" (via).
"Clearly, there’s more work to be done before we can say precisely how inaccurate media portrayals impact self-image in seniors, from their sense of being valued to their sense of optimism, but what really concerns me as a physician is how a diminished sense of self-worth can, in turn, impact a senior’s health. In our survey, we showed that aging Americans who report feeling more valued in society tend to have more healthy days. At Humana, we believe aging with optimism contributes to health, and that’s why we’re committed to reversing societal perceptions and promoting aging with optimism." Yolangel Hernandez Suarez
photographs of Kathy Bates via and via