Tuesday, June 14, 2011

'Men of a Certain Age' Reminds Us That Older Women Are Still Marginalized

Last year I started a blog entitled Women's Eye on Media with Holly of Menstrual Poetry.  We were forced to stop actively working on it for awhile but have recently decided to restart this blog because we believe it to be an important project. Below you will find an short excerpt of one my recent posts.

Men of a Certain Age stars Ray Romano, Scott Bakula, and Andre Braugher.  I started watching this show for the unhusband, and I must admit that I find it interesting, if not always funny.  Andre, Ray and Scott are 50 year old men living out life's foibles.  Andre is married with two kids. He works for his father as a car salesman, who treats him terribly and is a diabetic. His marriage is solid, but because he lacks control in so many things, he often turns to food for comfort binging on everything he should not.  Scott has never been married and is the perpetual peter pan.  He has a 25 year old girlfriend, but seems to look at others and want the wife, kids and backyard, even as he is afraid to give up his freedom.  He is non working actor and is the superintendent of the unit that he lives.  Ray owns a novelty store, and is the divorced father of two teenage kids.  He has a serious gambling and Air Supply addiction. 

The trio recently appeared on The Piers Morgan Show and they genuinely seem to like each other and have great chemistry together.   Romano said that he often got letters from men in their age bracket, thanking them for making a show about them, which got me thinking about whether or not it is fair to say that men of any age are, ever really erased from the media. It seems to me that while older men don't have as much media representation of younger men, they certainly outstrip women who have a difficult time getting roles after forty.  This is even more true if the women is of colour or disabled. In Andre's case however, I will acknowledge that because of White supremacy, the lack of older men of colour is indeed an issue.

How many times in the media have we seen men dating women half their age and getting into physical altercations with men half their age and ending up victorious?  Sean Connery in particular specialized in this, in his last few movies.  We are expected to ignore the age difference specifically because of sexism and so I really don't think it is fair to suggest that Men of a Certain Age actually offers anything new to the audience, except for placing these men in a suburban setting. What it does prove is that media believes that stories that center around men are profitable, and this is hardly surprising because the media is largely run by men.