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The heart-wrenching reason grandparents should see themselves on-screen.

Ageism is alive and well in Hollywood. Is it harming seniors' health?

The heart-wrenching reason grandparents should see themselves on-screen.

Could casting decisions in Hollywood be shortening our lifespans?

It may seem like a provocative thought, but it's not as far-fetched as you think.

When you look at the 25 films nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars over the past three years, less than 12% of the characters in them were 60 years or older — with very few being women or minorities — according to a new study from Stacy L. Smith, director of the Media, Diversity, and Social Change initiative at the University of Southern California Annenberg.


What’s more, few of those characters played roles pivotal to the plot, and many were misrepresented or created with ageist stereotypes in mind, Smith found.

This is a problem with ramifications felt far outside Hollywood.

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Past studies suggest stereotypes about aging can have devastating effects on older people.

Research out of Australia's Charles Sturt University in 2015 found negative stereotyping about growing older — that it will bring about loneliness and frailty, for example — influences how older people see themselves and their peers. This, in turn, can effect a variety of other important factors relating to how a senior's life unfolds: how fast they recover from illness, their overall mental health and well-being — even how long they live.

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When Hollywood does nothing to counter these stereotypes — and, in many cases, exacerbates the problem — it can cause harm off-screen.

"If I don't see myself in the movies, what does that say about me?" Yogi Hernandez Suarez told NPR. She's a chief medical officer at health insurance provider Humana, which funded the USC study. "Am I not a valued person? Should I be preparing for a future, or will I just sort of disappear at a certain time?"

Image iStock.

Media representation isn't just a matter of political correctness — it's a matter of bettering lives.

Thanks to the hard work of activists and increasingly discontented moviegoers, the 2017 Academy Awards on Feb. 26, 2017, are more racially diverse than they've been in years. Films like "Moonlight" and "Hidden Figures" — and the artists who brought those projects to life — have snagged much-deserved nods, bringing stories centered around the experiences of people of color, women, and the LGBTQ community into the mainstream. To audiences around the globe, that's made a difference.

In the same vein, it's crucial the stories we see on big and small screens include complex older characters living rich lives and adding value to the narratives which they're part of — not used as tropes or glorified extras.

After all, our grandparents are watching. They deserve better.

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Davina Agudelo was born in Miami, Florida, but she grew up in Medellín, Colombia.

"I am so grateful for my upbringing in Colombia, surrounded by mountains and mango trees, and for my Colombian family," Agudelo says. "Colombia is the place where I learned what's truly essential in life." It's also where she found her passion for the arts.

While she was growing up, Colombia was going through a violent drug war, and Agudelo turned to literature, theater, singing, and creative writing as a refuge. "Journaling became a sacred practice, where I could leave on the page my dreams & longings as well as my joy and sadness," she says. "During those years, poetry came to me naturally. My grandfather was a poet and though I never met him, maybe there is a little bit of his love for poetry within me."

In 1998, when she left her home and everyone she loved and moved to California, the arts continued to be her solace and comfort. She got her bachelor's degree in theater arts before getting certified in journalism at UCLA. It was there she realized the need to create a media platform that highlighted the positive contributions of LatinX in the US.

"I know the power that storytelling and writing our own stories have and how creative writing can aid us in our own transformation."

In 2012, she started Alegría Magazine and it was a great success. Later, she refurbished a van into a mobile bookstore to celebrate Latin American and LatinX indie authors and poets, while also encouraging children's reading and writing in low-income communities across Southern California.

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via Macrofying

Ole Bielfeldt, 20, from Cologne, Germany never expected to become a social media sensation. But when he posted a video on TikTok under the handle @Macrofying 16 months ago, he woke up the next morning and it had 7 million views.

"I started the TikTok channel about a year ago, so it's not that old. I've always been interested in photography and especially the different perspectives you could create," he told Reuters.

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