Ageism experts discuss damage to seniors with inaccurate portrayals on television and in film

Ageism in Hollywood

When you watch TV, do you ever wonder if people are portrayed accurately?  Many moms are a little too perfect.  Some kids are a little too precocious. Elderly people are not shown as often as the younger counterparts and when they are they are often depicted as being slow, weak, reclusive or despondent. Finding a vibrant, active senior who is actually acknowledged as a senior, is rare unless you count Diane Keaton chick flicks. Ageism flows in TV and movies and many people don’t care, or even worse, don't notice it.

However, the way older people are shown on screen may impact how seniors are regarded in society.  This could lead to disparate treatment of a large part of the population.

Dr. Stacy Smith, Associate Professor, University of Southern California Annenberg School of Communications and Dr. Yolangel Hernandez Suarez, Vice President and Chief Medical Officer for the Care Delivery Organization at Humana, Inc. spoke with about key research on age in Hollywood, how damaging it can be when older people are disregarded, how Humana aids in this research, what are the consequences of inaccurate portrayals of seniors on screen and more.

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Michelle Tompkins

Michelle Tompkins is an award-winning media, PR and crisis communications professional with more than ten years experience with coverage in virtually every traditional and new media outlet. She is currently a communications and media strategist and writer, as well as the author of College Prowler: Guidebook for Columbia University. She served as the Media Relations Manager for the Girl Scouts of the USA where she managed all media and talking points, created social media strategy, trained executives and donors and served as the organization’s primary spokesperson, participating in daily interviews with local, regional, and national media outlets. She managed the media for the Let Me Know internet safety and Cyberbullying prevention campaign with Microsoft, as well as Girl Scouts’ centennial Year of the Girl To Get Her There celebration in 2012, which yielded more than 800 million earned media impressions. In addition to her extensive media experience, Michelle worked as a talent agent in Los Angeles, California, as well contracting as a digital content developer and her writing has appeared in newspapers and online. She is passionate about television, theater, classic movies, all things food and in-home entertaining. While she has lived and worked in NYC for more than a decade, she is from suburban Sacramento and gets back there often to watch the San Francisco Giants on TV with her family.

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