Today, one adult French woman in two is over 5O. When both the male and female adult population are considered, women over 50 constitute one fourth of that group.
Nonetheless, the important presence of women over 50 in real life is not reflected in our television and cinema fictions. Such characters have become almost invisible on screen.
In 2015, only 8% of all screen roles were attributed to actresses over 5O. In 2016, the situation was even worse: 6%
The older-than-50 female film character simply disappears.
We, the undersigned
First signatories of the Manifesto AAFA “TUNNEL of the 50-Year-Old Female Actor in France”, affirm that
it is urgent to give visibility to women over 50 in fictional works. The stakes are high for today’s youth and for future generations.
We are aware that over and beyond their quality as artistic objects, cinema and television fictions convey norms and values that influence our perception of the world. We agree to work with AAFA and its commission “Tunnel of the 50-Year-Old Female Actor” to combat all forms of sexist stereotypes related to the age of women that are reproduced in fictional works for diverse reasons.
In the practice of our respective professions, we will, in particular, pay attention to:
The equitable proportion of female and male characters over 50 in the fictional works that we are involved with;
The fact that, in general, the feminine character over 50 is coherent with the evolving social position of woman of that age;
The absence of gender indications (when that does not change the sense of the story) for roles that could be played by either a man or a woman, and most notably for roles of civil servants or high level executives. Such roles are generally given to men over 50. “(F/M)” could be indicated after the description of the role;
The difference in age of fictional couples (when that doesn’t change the sense of the story). This difference is often far from reality (2 years for French couples, according to INSEE.) For example, when the masculine character is over 50, avoid giving him, when possible, a partner who is 20 years younger;
- The plausibility between the age of the feminine roles over 50 and the actresses chosen to interpret them. That allows women to identify with the image reflected in the fictional work;
we, the undersigned scriptwriters, directors, casting agents, producers, distributors, are committed to making our colleagues aware of these issues. If you’re not represented on screen, you don’t exist!
We, Directors working in theatre, agree to oppose sexist stereotypes linked to the age of women represented on stage and to take this manifesto into account when casting the roles in our plays.
We, Artistic and Literary Agents, promise to promote the application of this Manifesto amongst our partners within the context of the mission conferred upon us by our clients.
We, Female and Male Actors, support this Manifesto as a necessary leverage to achieve an equitable distribution of roles.
We, filmgoers and TV fiction viewers, considering that it is urgent to make the women over 50 more visible on screen, support your Manifesto!
Paris, April 11th, 2018
AAFA-Tunnel de la Comédienne de 50 ans – AAFA-The Tunnel of the 50-Year-Old Female Actor