Call for articles for the 17th issue of the journal Genre en séries : cinéma, télévision, médias

Ages of life, ages on screen:

Passages, thresholds, transitions and gendered evolutions.

How  are  the  thresholds  and  transitions  linked  to  the  major  “stages  of  life”  tackled,  in particular through the prism of gender, in films and series? This question, which lies at the heart of narratives and representations, also constitutes a major stake in acting careers. It concerns both biological – the reality of growth or aging – and cultural issues – the presence of constructs and norms which works can reflect, amplify or deconstruct (Foucart 2003, Sermon 2014). Beyond the single double standard of ageing (Sontag 1972) which puts women at a disadvantage, gender matters considerably at all stages of life. Each age is marked by gender norms  and  relations,  revived  and  intensified  at  each  transition  from  one  age  to  another (whether biological age or social age, Rennes 2019). Socio-demographers focus on the “transition to adulthood” (Bidart 2006, Billari and Liefbroer 2010), which is highly gendered, but other periods of life are also affected by the transition from one age to another. This collection, which intends to be multidisciplinary, will focus on periods of transition – whether abrupt or gradual – and the way in which gender relations are intertwined with age.

In the theater, from Ancient comedy to French classicism, the distribution of roles according to a codified system based in particular on the age of the characters, has led to a system of typing based on stereotypes, whose traces can still be found today in audiovisual representations (Martinez 2015; Candiard 2015; Vialleton 2015): young leads struggling to find mature male roles, child stars whose careers come to a halt when the first signs of puberty appear, female actors reduced to supporting roles past the age of fifty – a harsh reality humorously evoked in 2015 in an “Inside Amy Schumer”’s sketch entitled “Last F**kable Day,” bringing together North American actresses Tina Fey, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Patricia Arquette at the moment when they are being dismissed from the economy of desire. This upcoming issue of the journal Genre en series aims to examine the disruptions and transitions from one age – and one “type”  –  to another, as well as the ways in which works and performances may challenge internalized norms.

The  collection  will  address  the  junction,  and  possible  clash,  between  the  audiovisual narrations, which build their own temporality, and the evolution of the bodies of the actors, subjected to the passage of time. A well-known theoretical commonplace associates  film, the art of the movement, with the representation of changes and metamorphoses. In reality, however, these two temporalities  –   real and fictional – may sometimes clash –   from the “impossible aging” of iconic stars (Courcoux, Le Gras, Moine 2017), regularly dealt with by North American age studies, to the problem of the unpredictable physical evolutions of  the youngest cast in productions like the Harry Potter adaptations, and other tales of teenage coming-of-age, whose puberty has forced producers to make numerous script adjustments. Films and series abound in representations of transitions from one age to another, and actual metamorphosis of the actors’ bodies can take various forms. First of all, fiction can capture characters at pivotal moments, and depict bodies in transition, exploring, for example, the first steps in female puberty (Water Lilies, Céline Sciamma, 2007), the fears aroused by the entry into the adult world of fatherhood (Knocked Up, Judd Apatow, 2007) or the impact of aging on female identity (Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, Robert Aldrich, 1962). Audiovisual narratives then relay traditional cultural “rites of passage” marking the change from one state, or  status,  to  another  –  and  they  also  sometimes  document  the  disappearance  of  these thresholds, or the disruption of the usual stages caused by the logic of “age confusion” within contemporary Western societies (Deschavanne and Tavoillot 2007). How do the notions of youth  and  old  age  evolve  if  death  has  been  eradicated  (Ad  vitam,  Thomas  Cailley  and Sébastien Mounier, 2018)? What does the arrival of menopause (Better Things, Pamela Adlon and Louis C.K., 2016) or its implausible reversal (Nona et ses filles, Valérie Donzelli, 2021) entail?  How  should  one  analyze  the  interruption,  or  imaginary  acceleration,  of  aging dynamics in fantasy or science fiction plots (Time Out, Andrew Niccol, 2011; Old, Night Shyamalan, 2021)? In what ways do these fictional reinventions constitute manifestations of the “denial” of aging identified by Marc Augé (2014)?

Some works choose to exploit within the fiction the evolution of the actors’ bodies, by superimposing images of their performers at different stages in their lives, either sporadically – through flashback in which archival images show the younger performer (The Limey, Steven Soderbergh, 1999) – or structurally, exploiting the slow maturation of characters and actors throughout years or decades. Boyhood (Richard Linklater, 2014) or Anna 6-18 (Nikita Mikhalkov, 1994), made use of the slow maturation of their subjects’ bodies. The serial form, with its “long-term narratives” stretched over years or decades, has further amplified the encounter between the changing bodies of the performers and the evolution of the characters – thus the slow maturation of young adults (F.R.I.E.N.D. S, created by David Crane and Martha Kauffman, 1994-2004), the evolution of parent-child relationships over the seasons (Gilmore Girls, created by Amy Sherman-Palladino, 2000-2006; Fais-pas ci, fais pas ça, created by Anne Giafferi and Thierry Bizo, 2007-2017) or even sagas or series in which part of the cast remains for more than 20 years (Julie Lescaut’s daughters, who were teenagers in season 1, have become adults in the final season, 22 years later). And if some teen films or series have challenged viewers’ gullibility by forcing them to  accept a patent gap between the age of the characters and that of the actors (in the United States, teen movies have often been performed by actors who were well past their teens), more recent teenage series tend to replace their performers as soon as they reach a critical age. The ageing process can also lead to a profound change in representations within a film franchise spread over several years or become the springboard for a career rebound, as is the case, for example, with the figure of the “aging cowboy” embodied by John Wayne (Bonamy, 2014) or the refusal to accept the decline of manly strength in the film series Expendables: Special Unit, (scripted by Sylvester Stallone, whose various installments were released between 2010 and 2023) marked by a strong intertextuality with the works released during the lead actors youth or prime.

This collection aims to consider the transformations and the thresholds in fiction, either represented through familiar tropes, or as contradictory creative constraints threatening the coherence of the fictional narratives. Proposals should take into account the complexity of the “stages of life” (subjective, chronological…), the evolutionary processes linked to age and its different dimensions, whether in the narratives (representation of a life or a long period) or at their margins (study of a career) as well as the periods of transition (first menstruation, entry into sexuality, end of adolescence, first signs of old age…), in a gendered and intersectional perspective. The volume will be coordinated by researchers in cinema and sociology, and is therefore open to a plurality of approaches and disciplines.

The following axes are proposed:

  • Thresholds, transitions and turning points in audiovisual narratives, intertwined with narrative temporality. Identification of typical patterns (rites of passage, coming-of- age, initiation, declines, regressions, intergenerational disruptions) or the transgression/deconstruction of these patterns and the norms that underlie them, especially gendered ones.
  • Use of age-related alterations by narratives. Physical changes in characters and/or performers whether concealed or exploited within the fictional universes, or fictional reconstruction of these alterations (make-up, performances, etc.), gender-related variations.
  • Contradictions or tensions between the cultural norms defining appropriate behaviors associated with a certain age and the screen representations of this age: reproduction or questioning of normative mechanisms linked, for example, to the articulation between age and sexualities. Conflicts or tensions between a character “type” and a behavioral model or the choice of an interpret to perform this age.
  • Acting in the context of narratives involving age-related changes.
  • Thresholds, turning points and transitions in acting careers, whether exploited within the fictions or not.
  • More broadly, evolution of the relationship to gender with age and/or articulation between age, class and generational identity, gender and sexuality.

Modalities for the Papers submission:

Papers should not have been published in any other journal or conference proceedings. Proposals should present and justify their disciplinary and/or methodology, as well as their position in the existing literature on gender and explain how age-related issues are addressed. We welcome proposals for papers in French or English, approximately 500-800 words in length, as well as key bibliographical references and a short biographical notice.

Proposals should be addressed to: and, and copied to

  • Abstract Submission Deadline: December 15th, 2022.
  • Notification of Acceptance/Rejection : January 15th, 2023.
  • Final Paper Submission Deadline: April 30th, 2023.

Submissions will be subjected to double blind peer review by members of the scientific committee for a publication in the fall of 2023.



Mathieu Arbogast, « De si jeunes femmes… Analyse longitudinale des écarts d’âges et des inégalités de genre dans les séries policières », Genre en séries : cinéma, télévision, médias [en ligne], n°1, 2015, p. 73-99,

Mathieu Arbogast, « Plus de leur âge ? La sexualité des femmes de 50 ans dans les séries TV au début du XXIe siècle », Clio. Femmes, Genre, Histoire, n°42, 2015, p. 165-179. Marc Augé, Une ethnologie de soi, le temps sans âge, Paris : Seuil, 2014.

Josep  M.  Armengol  (dir.),  Aging  Masculinities  in  Contemporary  U.S.  Fiction,  Londres : Palgrave Macmillan, 2021.

Josep   M.   Armengol   &   Agustina   Varela-Manograsso,   « Pain   and   Glory:   Narrative (De)constructions  of  Older  Gay  Men  in  Contemporary  Spanish  Culture  and  Cinema », Journal of Aging Studies, vol. 63, 2022 [online first],

Doris G. Bazzini, William D. McIntosh, Stephen M. Smith, Sabrina Cook & Caleigh Harris, « The  Aging  Woman  in  Popular  Film:  Underrepresented,  Unattractive,  Unfriendly,  and Unintelligent », Sex roles, vol. 36, n°7-8, 1997, p. 531-543.

Claire Bidart, « Introduction : les transitions vers l’âge adulte, différenciations sociales et culturelles. »,  in  Claire  Bidart,  Devenir  adulte  aujourd’hui :  perspectives  internationales, Paris : L’Harmattan-INJEP, 2006, p. 9-19.

Francesco  C.  Billari  &  Aart  C.  Liefbroer,  « Towards  a  New  Pattern  of  Transition to Adulthood? », Advances in Life Course Research, vol. 15, n°2-3, 2010, p. 59-75.

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Robert Bonamy, « Autour de Magaye Niang dans Mille Soleils, un film de Mati Diop »,

Recherches & Travaux [En ligne], n°86, « Jouer (avec) la vieillesse », 2015, mis en ligne le 28 novembre 2016, p. 55-64.

Adrienne Boutang, « Crises d’adolescence ? Teenagers et séries au long cours », in Anne Crémieux   &   Ariane   Hudelet   (dir.),   La   Sérialité   à   l’écran,   Comprendre   les   séries anglophones, Tours : Presses Universitaires François Rabelais, 2020, p. 137-157.

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Laura M., Carpenter « Virginity Loss in Reel/Real Life: Using Popular Movies to Navigate Sexual Initiation », Sociological Forum, n°24, 2009, p. 804-827.

Sabine Chalvon-Demersay, Le Troisième souffle. Parentés et sexualités dans les adaptations télévisées, Paris : Presses des Mines, 2021.

Céline Candiard,  « Âge et numéro  d’acteur de la comédie romaine à  Louis de Funès »,

Recherches & Travaux [En ligne], n°86, in « Jouer (avec) la vieillesse », 2015, mis en ligne le 28 novembre 2016, p. 23-24.

Cécile Charlap, La Fabrique de la ménopause, Paris : CNRS Éditions, 2019.

Charles-Antoine Courcoux, Gwénaëlle Le Gras & Raphaëlle Moine (dir.), L’Âge des stars : des images à l’épreuve du vieillissement, Lausanne : Éditions l’Âge d’Homme, 2017.

Celestino Deleyto, « The New Road to Sexual Ecstasy: Virginity and Genre in The 40-Year- Old  Virgin »,  in  Tamar  Jeffers  McDonald  (dir.),  Virgin  Territory.  Representing  Sexual Inexperience in Film, Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2010, p. 255-268.

Eric Deschavanne & Pierre-Henri Tavoillot, Philosophie des âges de la vie, Paris : Grasset, 2007.

Joyce   Elliott,   « The   Daytime   Television   Drama   Portrayal   of   Older   Adults »,   The Gerontologist, vol. 24, n°6, 1984, p. 628-633.

Jean Foucart, « La vieillesse : une construction sociale », Pensée plurielle. Parole, pratiques et réflexions du social, n°6, « Vieillesse et exclusion sociale », 2003, p. 7-18.

Frances  K.  Gateward  &  Pomerance  Murray  (dir.),  Sugar,  Spice  and  Everything  Nice: Cinemas of Girlhood, Detroit : Wayne State University Press, 2002.

Marie Giral, Enquête sur les nouveaux comportements. Les adulescents, Paris : Le Pré Aux Clercs, 2002.

Hannah  Hamad,  « “I’m  Not  Past  My  Sell  By  Date  Yet!”:  Sarah  Jane’s  Adventures  in Postfeminist Rejuvenation and the Later Life Celebrity of Elisabeth Sladen », in Deborah Jermyn, D. & Su Holmes (dir), Women, Celebrity and Cultures of Ageing, Londres: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015, p. 162-177.

Deborah Jermyn, « Unlikely Heroines? “Women of a Certain Age” and Romantic Comedy », Cineaction, n°85, 2011, p. 26-33.

Deborah Jermyn, « Past Their Prime Time?: Women, Ageing and Absence on British Factual Television », Critical Studies in Television, vol. 8, n°1, 2013, p. 73-90.

Norma  Jones  &  Bob  Batchelor  (dir.),  Aging  Heroes:  Growing  Old  in  Popular  Culture, Washington : Rowman & Littlefield, 2015.

Maura  Kelly,  « Virginity  Loss  Narratives  in  “Teen  Drama”  Television  Programs »,  The Journal of Sex Research, vol. 47, n°5, 2010, p. 479-489.

Gwénaëlle Le Gras, « Vieux pots et nouvelles jeunes poules ? Stars féminines vieillissantes et sexualité dans le cinéma français contemporain : une mise en perspective », Théorème, n° 28, 2017, p. 109-118.

Gwénaëlle Le Gras,  « Les  derniers  rendez-vous de D.D.  La star,  le vieillissement et la capacité  d’agir   »,   Danielle  Darrieux  ou   la   traversée   d’un   siècle,   Pessac :   Presses Universitaires de Bordeaux, 2020, p. 220-241.

Ariane Martinez (dir.), Recherches & Travaux [En ligne], n°86, « Jouer (avec) la vieillesse », 2015, mis en ligne le 28 novembre 2016.

Maricel Oró-Piqueras & Anita Wohlmann (dir.), Serializing Age: Aging and Old Age in TV Series, New Rockford : Transcript publishing, 2016.

Manon  Parry,  Broadcasting  Birth  Control.  Mass  Media  and  Family  Planning,  New Brunswick : Rutgers University Press, 2013.

Dominique Pasquier, La Culture des sentiments. L’expérience télévisuelle des adolescents, Paris : Éditions de la MSH, 1999.

Juliette Rennes, « Déplier la catégorie d’âge. Âge civil, étape de la vie et vieillissement corporel dans les préjudices liés à l’“âge” », Revue française de sociologie, vol. 60, n°2, 2019, p. 257-284.

Lauren Rosewarne, Periods in Pop Culture: Menstruation in Film and Television, Lexington books, 2012

Kathleen Rowe Karlyn, « Teen-Girl Melodramas: My So-Called Life and Thirteen », in Rowe Karlyn (dir.), Unruly Girls, Unrepentant Mothers: Redefining Feminism on Screen, Austin: University of Texas Press, 2011, p. 161-190.

Jean-Marie Samocki, « Le vieillissement de David Bowie », Le Café des Images, 09/03/2016 ;

Wieland Schwanebeck, « A Secret(ly) Aging Man Who Has no Time to Die: The Spectre of

Aging in the James Bond Franchise », Journal of Aging Studies, vol. 61, 2022.

Julie Sermon, « La vieillesse en effigie : figures hyperréalistes et mise en mouvement des représentations collectives », Recherches & Travaux [En ligne], n°86, « Jouer (avec) la vieillesse », 2015, mis en ligne le 28 novembre 2016, p. 133-147.

Susan Sontag, « The Double Standard of Ageing », The Saturday review, september 23, 1972, p. 29-38.

Lindsey Shelley Stamp, « Horror, Femininity and Carrie’s Monstrous Puberty », in Barry Keith Grant (dir.), The Dread of Difference: Gender and the Horror Film, Austin: University of Texas Press, 1996, p. 329-345.

Solenne Tauty et al, « Sexual Health Promotion Messages for Young People in Netflix Most- Watched Series Content (2015–2020): Mixed-Methods Analysis Study », BMJ Open, 2021,

Elizabeth Tripp, « The Good, the Bad, and the Bloody: Images of Menstruation in Television and in Menstrual Activism », Women’s History Theses, 52, 2021.

Jean-Yves Vialleton, « Le théâtre classique et l’« âge du rôle » », Recherches & Travaux [En ligne], n°86, « Jouer (avec) la vieillesse », 2015, mis en ligne le 28 novembre 2016, p. 67- 81.

JoEtta A.  Vernon, J. Allen Jr. Williams, Terri Phillips & Janet Wilson, « Media Stereotyping: A  Comparison  of  the  Way  Elderly  Women  and  Men  Are  Portrayed  on  Prime-Time Television », Journal of Women & Aging, vol. 2, n°4, 1990, p. 55-68.

Imelda Whelehan and Joel Gwynne (dir.), Ageing, Popular Culture and Contemporary Feminism: Harleys and Hormones, Basingstoke: Palgrave McMillan, 2014.