This is one of those situations where my instincts as a journalist, and my instincts as an advocate for feminism in entertainment come into conflict. An actress is suing the Internet Movie Database for publishing her true age on the grounds that discrimination against actresses over 40 is so pervasive that revealing her age would complicate her efforts to find future employment. IMDb is, of course, a resource both for journalists and for folks who work in the entertainment industry, so it can be used to both inform and to discriminate (it isn’t always accurate, either, which is a larger but separate problem).
But I suppose I come down on the side of keeping her age in there, though I would be curious as to where IMDb got the information because birth certificates, as we’ve learned via national farce, aren’t always part of the public record. Ultimately, hiding it is capitulating. I don’t think that changing norms around actresses and age is easy, and the battle to shift them will have costs for individuals along the way. But ultimately I think the cause of building good databases and asserting that age discrimination is wrong is more important. I’d be curious to hear this actress name the jobs she’s been unable to land because of age discrimination. It’s not people who put the information out there who are doing wrong. It’s people who are using it to make pop culture even more homogenous and youth-oriented.