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Maintaining the Double Standard: Portrayals of Age and Gender in Popular Films

Abstract

An analysis of the top 100 domestic grossing films of 2002 found evidence of a lingering double standard for aging female and male characters. Overall, major male characters outnumbered major female characters (73% vs. 27%); the majority of male characters were in their 30s and 40s, and the majority of female characters were in their 20s and 30s. Both women and men in their 60s and older were dramatically underrepresented compared to their representation in the US population. For male characters, leadership and occupational power increased with age. Men in their 40s, 50s, and 60s were more likely to play leadership roles and wield occupational power than were their female counterparts. As female characters aged, they were less likely to have goals.

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Correspondence to Martha M. Lauzen.

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Lauzen, M.M., Dozier, D.M. Maintaining the Double Standard: Portrayals of Age and Gender in Popular Films. Sex Roles 52, 437–446 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-005-3710-1

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Keywords

  • age
  • gender
  • film