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Jamie Denbo Speaks Out Against Sexist Casting

Recently, Orange is the New Black actress Jamie Denbo experienced discrimination due to her age.

Denbo was recently rejected for a role because she was told she was too old to play the wife of a 57-year-old man. Denbo is 43 years old.

The actress called out Hollywood for sexist and ageist casting calls in a series of tweets.

I was just informed that at the age of 43, I am TOO OLD to play the wife of a 57 year old. Oh, the characters also have an 18 year-old daughter. I am TOO OLD to be the mother of an 18 year-old.”

It is hard to ignore the fact that older men do not receive the same kind of treatment due to their age.

The discrimination against older women in Hollywood is an issue for a number of reasons. Not only does Hollywood have a very large influence on its audience, but acting is how these actresses make a living.

Women in Hollywood are much less likely to be cast for roles as they age more, despite all of their other talents and experience in the field.

This is not something new. It has been an ongoing problem in the film industry and it is not hard to see.

For example, a Vulture analysis from 2013 demonstrates this trend. 57-year-old Denzel Washington’s love interest in Flight? 35-year-old Kelly Reilly. 49-year-old Johnny Depp’s wife in Transcendence? 30-year-old Rebecca Hall. 61-year-old Liam Neeson’s on-again, off-again mistress in Third Person? 29-year-old Olivia Wilde.

Maggie Gyllenhaal spoke to The Wrap in a 2015 interview about a similar experience she had.

“I’m 37 and I was told recently I was too old to play the lover of a man who was 55,” Maggie said. “It was astonishing to me. It made me feel bad, and then it made me feel angry, and then it made me laugh.”

What kind of example is this setting? Hollywood must consider the repercussions that this kind of discrimination represents. A woman does not only hold value for as long as she can remain young.

Though this trend is upsetting and wrong, it is not something that cannot be fixed. Thankfully, there are people out there fighting Hollywood’s casting problem. For example, breakout TV series like The Handmaid’s Tale feature incredible casts full of talented women.

Strong female leads in movies that represent the wide range of ages can help change the industry. They can help sway Hollywood away from sexist and ageist castings, as well as demonstrate the strength and importance held by women of all ages.

Featured Image by Shinya Suzuki on Flickr

Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0)

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