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Estella Tincknell

Estella Tincknell

Estella is a member of the WAM (Women, Ageing, Media) Network established in 2008 with colleagues in the Universities of the West of England, York and Gloucestershire to explore the representation of older women within media and film.

  • The recent death of Margaret Thatcher prompted me to look again at the Thatcher ‘biopic’, The Iron Lady, a film which provoked some manufactured outrage in the right wing press on its release.  In fact, The Iron Lady is in many ways a fairly standard biographical film, since it begins from the premise that Margaret Thatcher is a significant historical figure whose greatness is already given, and it seeks to tell her story through its presentation of ‘key moments’ in her  life.  Where the film is distinctive, and disturbingly so (and it is this that the right-wing commentators initially picked up on), is in its framing of Thatcher’s successful years as Prime Minister through a narrative about aging as a process of inevitable decline and loss. Although my reasons are different, I think they were right to protest, and I will explain why.

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    Posted on June 14th, 2013 by Estella Tincknell filed under: Blog

  • Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know: the Side Effects of the Femme Fatale

    Note: this piece contains a spoiler
    I went to see the well-reviewed Steven Soderbergh film Side Effects last week, and came out of the screening profoundly depressed by how little has changed in the way in which older women are depicted on screen in mainstream films despite three decades of feminist challenges to stereotypes and standard generic tropes.  While it may sometimes seem as though we are encountering a broader, more complex range of female characters on screen, too often these are confined to women under 40, and representations of women who are 50 or over are both infrequent and limited in range.  For every Meryl Streep led romantic comedy or drama (and it is always Meryl Streep) we can find ten thrillers in which older women appear only as supportive or suspicious housewives and mothers; for each feisty investigating District Attorney a hundred dead hookers litter the mean streets of crime thrillers – and the older the hooker the less likely her death will be the main focus of the narrative’s investigation.

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    Posted on March 27th, 2013 by Estella Tincknell filed under: Blog