Game of Thrones is coming to a conclusion in the not so distant future. As a result, it should come as no surprise to learn that its cast members are preparing for their future roles in their career of choice. One example is Maisie Williams, who has revealed some of her concerns about her future in a recent interview with the Irish Times. In short, she is concerned that her looks don’t fit the beauty standards of the entertainment industries, meaning that there are entire swathes of roles that are available to her. As a result, Williams has stated that she would like to see a wider range of looks on the screen, which is a sentiment that has been becoming more and more popular in recent times.
What Williams has said about the limited range of roles that are available to actresses who don’t fit the beauty standards of the entertainment industries is something that others have brought up as well. However, it should be mentioned that this particular problem co-exists with a number of other serious issues, which often share the same root causes.
For example, it hasn’t been that long since the news was covering how older actresses were receiving much fewer roles than older actors, which is a reflection of how women are still reaching their peak earning potential much sooner than their male counterparts but much more so. For those who are curious, there have been studies done on the matter, which show that actresses tend to receive more roles than their male counterparts up until around the age of 30. After which, their presence starts disappearing from the screen at a precipitous rate, whereas their male counterparts won’t hit their peak until their mid-40s before seeing a much gentler decline.
However, the most striking part is that the problem isn’t getting better but rather worse because the data also shows that actresses are seeing steeper declines whereas actors are peaking later and later, meaning that the entertainment industries are actually worse in this regard than a lot of other industries out there. Overall, the fall in the number of roles for older actresses is very much of an extension of the same problem brought up by Williams, which is to say, they don’t fit the beauty standards set by the entertainment industries.
With that said, it should be mentioned that there is also a serious lack of important roles of women. For proof, look no further than a recent study conducted by Polygraph in 2016, which revealed that 18 percent of movies had two women in the three most important speaking roles whereas 82 percent of movies had two men in the three most important speaking roles. This is illustrative of a broader issue, which is that even when women show up on the screen, they don’t actually get as much dialogue as their male counterparts, thus leaving them with a much fainter presence. Something that could be connected to how 80 percent of movies from 2014 had no women mentioned in their credits as writers.
Summed up, Williams’s concerns are understandable. Hopefully, the current situation will change as women and other underrepresented groups continue to push for more proportionate representation on the screen. However, it is clear that there needs to be a sustained push because the evidence is a reminder that progress is never guaranteed but rather something that people have to fight for. The current state of things is particularly striking when one remembers that women actually make up a bigger percentage of movie-goers, meaning that it is very odd to say the least.