How old can you be — as a lady movie star — before you must stop aging, douse yourself in waters from the fountain of youth, and seek to become a sparkling, ageless vampire-daemon? Is that age unknowable, or simply measured by the presence of more than three wrinkles? Nah, say researchers — the age is known, and it's 34, the point at which income for female movie stars begins to "decrease rapidly."
In a paper published Wednesday, titled Age, Gender, and Compensation: A Study of Hollywood Movie Stars, researchers sought to determine if there was a discrepancy between the salaries for male and female actors as they age. The study's authors focused on the highest level of earners (movie stars!) in order “to rule out productivity-related explanations.”
This might seem like unfathomable amounts of money in a notoriously mercurial business, but one of the lead authors of the study says that these studies reflect greater trends. Timothy Judge, a management professor at the University of Notre Dame, said to USA Today:
This is a microcosm of what happens in society. We are such an appearance-based society. Men's well-worn faces are thought to convey maturity, character and experience. A woman's face, on the other hand, is valued for appearing young.