There are few good parts for women in Hollywood right now. This is an incontrovertible fact. When you become a woman of a certain age, somewhere after 30 and before the hot flashes begin, there are no parts at all. Karen Allen, 56, who will be in the new Indiana Jones movie reprising her role as the plucky Marion Ravenwood, tells the L.A. Times, "I'm from a generation of fantastic actresses. It's a big pool of really wonderful actresses, and so many of them we never even get to see on the screen anymore." But why? Why is Julie Christie relegated to senility and Cameron Diaz stuck in the woman-girl cul-de-sac?
I read the Karen Allen interview over the weekend and was thinking about the lack of roles for mature ladies when I read this NY Times 'Sunday Styles' piece about why people hate the Brooklyn neighborhood of Park Slope. It was far from revelatory, but this quote from a Slop residente stuck out: "Hipsters and people who don't have kids are terrified of becoming grown-ups and parents, which is what Park Slope has come to represent." But it's not just hipsters who are scared to grow up — it's everyone born after 1945.
Think about it: Dennis Hopper is using his bad-ass, drug-using, motorcycle riding cred from the 60s to shill for retirement planning, despite the fact that he's over seventy. Baby boomers are the ones currently running the studios, and they're terrified of aging, of being seen as adult. Because men's roles in film aren't based so much on aesthetics, they're allowed to act like teenagers in grown up, paunchy bodies. But since women, particularly in Hollywood, are not really allowed to age, they're forced to act like girls until they're forced off the screen entirely.
But it's just a theory. Maybe it's much more simplistic; maybe, as Rush Limbaugh said about Hillary Clinton, America is simply afraid to stare at an aging woman.
Remember Karen Allen? Steven Spielberg Did For 'Indiana Jones' [Los Angeles Times]
Park Slope: Where Is the Love? [NYT]