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Maiden, mother, and crone: Ageism in genre fiction

Wanting to see equal representation in genre fiction doesn’t stop at gender. We want to see all kinds of people represented across gender, creed, sexuality, race, age, physical ability, taste in films, dog lovers, cat lovers, tea drinkers, and even those coffee drinkers… You get the point.

This week, we ask why only young folk are given the opportunity to have all the fun adventures in genre fiction. Why does the publishing industry seem to think readers can’t relate to older protagonists? And what about the problematic tropes we see when older characters do appear – albeit as members of the supporting cast – such as ‘the jolly matron’ or ‘the wise elder’?

We need to give special shouts outs to two extended members of the Breaking the Glass Slipper family this week – my ever-youthful father and Lucy’s fabulous grandmother. These characters made for some highly entertaining real-world examples to help us illustrate our points!

Further reading:

Texts mentioned in the episode:

  • Star Wars
  • Terry Pratchett’s novels featuring the witches (including Equal Rites, Wyrd Sisters, Witches Abroad, Lords and Ladies, Maskerade, and Carpe Jugulum)
  • Tehanu: The Last Book of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin
  • The Traitor Spy Trilogy by Trudy Canavan
  • Blade Runner
  • Disney films such as CinderellaSleeping Beauty, and The Princess and the Frog
  • The Simpsons
  • The Dark Crystal
  • Starborn by Lucy Hounsom
  • 500 Days of Summer
  • Harry Potter
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • Daggerspell by Katharine Kerr
  • Vampire: The Masquerade
  • Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice
  • The Belgariad by David Eddings
  • Downton Abbey
  • The Long Kiss Goodnight
  • The Brenda and Effie Mysteries by Paul Magrs
  • Miss Marple
  • Hot Fuzz
  • Travels with My Aunt by Graham Greene
  • Waiting for God (and not Next of Kin!!! Though that was also a great show!)
  • Metronome by Oliver Langmead (You can read Lucy’s full review over at Fantasy Faction)

One comment

  1. Thought of Bujold all through this episode, especially Paladin of Souls. You might like this pretty comprehensive list of Old(er) Women in SF/F tweeted out by Sigrid Ellis: http://catherineldf.dreamwidth.org/261709.html

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