7 Actresses On Ageism In Hollywood

by Jaclyn Anglis

Even the most hardcore Anne Hathaway haters out there would be hard-pressed to insult the actress by calling her old. After all, the Oscar-winning actress is only 32. But it seems like Hollywood wants to prepare her for the old folks' home already, because in a recent interview, Anne Hathaway said she is already losing movie roles to younger actresses.

In a new interview with Glamour UK, the star of The Intern dished on her thoughts on Hollywood's ageism. And while her comments are honest, they are a bit disheartening. She said,

I can't complain about it because I benefitted from it. When I was in my early twenties, parts would be written for women in their fifties and I would get them. And now I'm in my early thirties and I'm like, "Why did that 24 year old get that part?"

She went on to say that since she has thankfully built up a bit of cachet in the industry and hopes that she'll be able to tell more stories that interest her. "I can't be upset about it, it's the way things are," she said.

It is sad that Hathaway feels like things have to remain at the the status quo just because many in charge — mostly men — say it has to be that way. But she is far from the only woman to discuss ageism in Hollywood. Read on to see what other ladies have to say on the topic and the ways they have tried to move forward.

1. Amy Schumer

Never one to shy away from political commentary in her comedy, Amy Schumer joined forces with the likes of Tina Fey and Patricia Arquette for a sketch on Inside Amy Schumer blasting ageism in Hollywood. The funny ladies gathered to celebrate the last day you were considered attractive enough in Hollywood, shedding light on a very real issue in a hilarious way.

2. Maggie Gyllenhaal

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The actress made headlines this May for a shocking reveal of ageism she'd experienced recently. She told The Wrap, “I’m 37 and I was told recently I was too old to play the lover of a man who was 55. It was astonishing to me. It made me feel bad, and then it made me feel angry, and then it made me laugh." Even still, she said she was still hopeful for women in the industry.

3. Madonna

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Madonna slammed the toxic mix of ageism and sexism in a Rolling Stone cover story this past winter. The Queen of Pop said, "It's still the one area where you can totally discriminate against somebody and talk sh*t. Because of their age. Only females, though. Not males. So in that respect we still live in a very sexist society." The 56-year-old then said if she has to be the one to open doors for women of a certain age, then "so be it."

4. Meryl Streep

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In a 2011 Vogue article, Streep revealed what it was like to turn 40. “I remember turning to my husband and saying, ‘Well, what should we do? Because it’s over.’” That year, she was only offered witch roles. She said, “Once women passed childbearing age, they could only be seen as grotesque on some level.” In response, she donated a contribution to a screenwriter's lab for women over 40.

5. Emma Thompson

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Thompson blasted ageism in a Vulture interview in Sept. 2015, calling the discrimination "insane." She said, "I remember saying years and years ago, when I was 35, that they'd have to exhume somebody to play my leading man. Nothing's changed in that regard. If anything, it's got worse." But she's been doing her part to make a change by speaking out — and by encouraging other women to join forces against sexism and ageism.

6. Zoe Saldana

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Saldana isn't afraid to put men in their place who say she's old at 36. She told The Telegraph, “By the time you’re 28 you’re expired, you’re playing mommy roles. We’re not the ones putting ourselves in those places. We’re allowing ourselves to be put in those positions. I just won’t allow it.” In response, Saldana refuses to play the parts of much older actors' girlfriends and specifically looks for roles that are out of the box, like Gamora in Guardians of the Galaxy. Kudos to her!

It is clearer now more than ever that ageism is a real thing in Hollywood all across the board. It is good to see that actresses, singers, and comedians are beginning to speak frankly about it. It's the first step to making a change in the industry.