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'Golden Girls' Scores High In View Of Women

August 25, 1986|From United Press International

WASHINGTON — "The Golden Girls" scores high points for its portrayal of older women but those on "Dynasty" and "Falcon Crest" "seem oblivious to their age" in an unrealistic way, a new TV study says.

The 25-page study, "Prime Time Women: An Analysis of Older Women on Entertainment Television," prepared by the National Commission on Working Women, found that there are more older women appearing these days on prime-time television, but they still depict "a sort of Peter Pan characterization--the character never grows up, never really grapples with the concerns characteristic of her age."

" 'Golden Girls,' in its frankness about aging, stands alone," the report said. "(It) incorporates into its plots some of the real issues facing mid-life and older women," including widowhood, mid-life sexuality and aging parents.

In contrast, the report observed that the characters of Alexis Colby on "Dynasty" and Angela Channing on "Falcon Crest" "appear never to have a back pain in their quest for wealth and power. They are oblivious to their age in a way that health, luck or money would allow few older women to be."

"Hollywood is selling itself short here by overlooking all the dramatic and humorous possibilities within the aging process. With numerous older women characters now in position, the challenge to television is to bring aging out of the closet," the report said.

"Today, women over age 50 account for 20% of all women on TV, double the representation of 10 years ago," commission chairman Alexis Herman said. That compares to 38% in the real-life population.

According to the study, the number of female characters older than 50 has tripled since 1975, with 19 female characters older than 50 on 16 prime-time shows.

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