Actor Charlize Theron is speaking out about ageism in Hollywood and her take on the gender divide is a surprising one. While many actors have spoken about the difficulties women face finding a role past a certain age, Theron says she believes that notion is a cliché, and that there’s no shortage of great roles and opportunities for women regardless of their age.
Speaking with Vanity Fair Italy, Theron said “The time has come for women to realize that the way we look outside is not the most important thing and it’s not true we are worth less when we age. Now that I’m 41 I work much more than 20 years ago, and I enjoy it even more. And all the women I know say the same thing, so it’s time to stop this cliché.”
Surprised to hear that she’s one of few actors who feel that there are many roles for women, specifically older women Hollywood, Theron replied “I don’t agree with that, and I’m not happy to hear people talking like that about Hollywood.”
While it is promising to hear that casting for women’s roles in Hollywood is not completely dire, there is a valid concern that Theron’s comments could do more harm than good. Dismissing the idea of sexism and ageism in Hollywood simply because it has not happened directly to her could undermine other voices who have endured both types of discrimination and have worked hard to fight against it. It’s also worth noting that Theron, who began her career as a model, is likely now receiving more roles in her 40s than in her 20s because she has built up an impressive filmography and worked hard to establish herself as a credible actor, making her name recognizable and in turn, bankable for Hollywood studios.
This past September, a bill was passed in California that will require industry sites like IMDB Pro to remove an actor’s age upon their request. This bill is a direct result of many actors speaking out against the ageism they’ve endured in Hollywood, with studies showing that women’s roles begin decreasing as early as age 30.
Although it’s positive to hear that not all actors are confronted with negative reactions as a result of their age or gender, it’s also important to keep in mind that not experiencing discrimination yourself doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.