Aging Heroes: Growing Old in Popular Culture

Front Cover
Norma Jones, Bob Batchelor
Rowman & Littlefield, May 6, 2015 - Performing Arts - 268 pages
Despite the increasing number and variety of older characters appearing in film, television, comics, and other popular culture, much of the understanding of these figures has been limited to outdated stereotypes of aging. These include depictions of frailty, resistance to modern life, and mortality. More importantly, these stereotypes influence the daily lives of aging adults, as well as how younger generations perceive and interact with older individuals. In light of our graying population and the growing diversity of portrayals of older characters in popular culture, it is important to examine how we understand aging.

In Aging Heroes: Growing Old in Popular Culture, Norma Jones and Bob Batchelor present a collection of essays that address the increasing presence of characters that simultaneously manifest and challenge the accepted stereotypes of aging. The contributors to this volume explore representations in television programs, comic books, theater, and other forms of media. The chapters include examinations of aging male and female actors who take on leading roles in such movies as Gran Torino, Grudge Match, Escape Plan, Space Cowboys, Taken, and The Big Lebowski as well as TheExpendables, Red, and X-Men franchises. Other chapters address perceptions of masculinity, sexuality, gender, and race as manifested by such cultural icons as Superman, Wonder Woman, Danny Trejo, Helen Mirren, Betty White, Liberace, and Tyler Perry’s Madea.

With multi-disciplinary and accessible essays that encompass the expanding spectrum of aging and related stereotypes, this book offers a broader range of new ways to understand, perceive, and think about aging. Aging Heroes will be of interest to scholars of film, television, gender studies, women’s studies, sociology, aging studies, and media studies, as well as to general readers.

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Diversity ConcernsSexuality Race and Gender
Being a Man?Masculinity and Aging Heroes
Real to ReelIndividuals Aging on and off the Screen
About the Editors and Contributors

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About the author (2015)

Norma Jones is the coeditor of Heroines of Film and Television: Portrayals in Popular Culture and Heroines of Comic Books and Literature: Portrayals in Popular Culture (Rowman & Littlefield, 2014).

Bob Batchelor, a noted cultural historian, is the author or editor of more than 20 books, including: The 1900s, The 1980s, The 2000s, American Pop: Popular Culture Decade by Decade (4 volumes); John Updike: A Critical Biography (2013); and Gatsby: The Cultural History of the Great American Novel (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015). Batchelor is founding editor of the Popular Culture Studies Journal and editor of the Contemporary American Literature series published by Rowman & Littlefield.

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