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Sonia Misra

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Across film genre and history, the figure of the older woman has remained largely invisible. “Frail, Frumpy and Forgotten: A Report on the Movie Roles of Women of Age,” a 2020 study conducted by The Geena Davis Institute on Gender and Media, finds that female characters made up just 25.3% of characters over the age of 50 in the top-grossing films of 2019 within the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany. All of these characters occupied minimal, supporting roles: none of the leading characters in the selected films were women over the age of 50, and the large majority of such characters were white, cis-heterosexual women.1 In this project, I simultaneously draw from frameworks rooted in queer theory and feminist theory to analyze the figure of the aging woman. Deploying the neologism “queerness^,” I work to more deeply and extensively explore the her relationship to queerness as a force, and highlight the utopic, liberatory potentials that such an affiliation could afford her. I closely analyze three films: 80 for Brady, She Will, and Thank You and Goodnight, to explore and highlight the the radical power that lies in divergent, anti-normative representation.



The views expressed in this paper are solely those of the author.