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Everyday Ageism

Does the BBC have a problem with older women?

(20 Posts)
Furret Tue 22-Sep-20 07:49:38

Older women are subject to different standards than male colleagues at the BBC, even on radio, the broadcaster Libby Purves has said.

The corporation has a problem with older women because they are under more pressure to appear attractive and youthful, Purves, who presented Radio 4’s Midweek from 1983 until it was dropped in 2017, wrote in an opinion piece for Radio Times.

While a number of older male broadcasters, including Melvyn Bragg, David Attenborough and John Humphrys, held high-ranking positions well into their 70s, female presenters struggle to match them: “Sue Barker has been binned from A Question of Sport after 23 years. She is 64. More willingly, Jenni Murray and Jane Garvey depart from Woman’s Hour, aged 70 and 56. They are replaced by Emma Barnett, a mere 35.

What is this? Does the BBC have a problem with older women? Are we written off as old trouts while men become revered elders, sacred patriarchs, silver foxes?”

Whitewavemark2 Tue 22-Sep-20 07:57:43

I think that they always have had a problem with older women.

LullyDully Tue 22-Sep-20 08:04:28

Doesn't look good for the content of WHour which is constantly whinging on about some woke issue of other.

Furret Tue 22-Sep-20 08:07:03

What really matters is that this is sending the message conveyed in the last sentence.

Galaxy Tue 22-Sep-20 08:12:35

I love jenni murray and Jane Garvey, I hope Emma Barnett is able to fill their shoes.

TwiceAsNice Tue 22-Sep-20 08:55:20

Can’t stand Jenni Murray. I don’t think any woman should be replaced because of age though. I am still working part time at 67 and have not found my employer to be ageist at all

Furret Tue 22-Sep-20 09:00:39

Oh for heavens sake let’s not turn this into a ‘I can’t strand...’ thread. There is a more important issue here.

Furret Tue 22-Sep-20 09:01:37

PS we are talking about the BBC in particular. What about other channels?

Anniebach Tue 22-Sep-20 09:03:47

Other channels are the same.

Furret Tue 22-Sep-20 09:08:25

Any examples spring to mind Anniebach?

Greeneyedgirl Tue 22-Sep-20 09:30:00

I am not keen on the way for example, newsreaders have to stand and display themselves at the beginning of the BBC news. Has anyone seen any overweight female presenters doing this? So I think for women, looks seem to be as important as age.

Why can’t we see a more reprensentative group of female presenters. Old, young, fat or thin, that we can identify with?

Parsley3 Tue 22-Sep-20 09:30:52

I will investigate other channels but meanwhile I am interested to see how long it will take the BBC to replace Prue and Esme in the Great British programmes with younger women.
In the last series of Bake Off the older contestants had mostly been replaced with younger and often inexperienced people.

lemongrove Tue 22-Sep-20 09:32:30

I think your last sentence in the OP says it all Furret and I totally agree. Things are much the same on other channels too, which is depressing as I had hoped we were moving in a better direction these days with sexist/ageist attitudes.
Sky sports has quite a few young female presenters, mostly kitted out with fake tans and hair extensions, again, very depressing ( for women anyway!)

grandtanteJE65 Mon 19-Oct-20 10:17:14

All television companies have a problem with older women, if by that we mean allowing them to be seen in public looking the way mature and elderly women look.

The same applies to film companies, you rarely see a sixty-something woman playing a romantic part, or even the detective in a thriller.

The double standard is doing well in these businesses, as men have a far easier time of it there.

Iam64 Mon 19-Oct-20 10:42:57

I remember in the 50's asking my mother why there were no "ladies' reading the news. Ah she said, ladies voices irritate the men.
Now we have women visible in our work places, including on news programmes. I agree with that last sentence in Furret's OP (there we go again lemon, in agreement). The only older woman I can immediately bring to mind who is treated with respect is Joan Bakewell, remember her, the thinking man's crumpet was her label. She's recently been on the radio several times during discussions about the elderly, isolation and covid.

As for Woman's Hour, I'm pleased that Emma Barnett is the new face of the programme. I'll miss her on radio 5 but I'm sure she'll be great on Woman's Hour. I'm also confident she'll never use the word "woke" in a derogatory way.

I've watched CNN and Fox recently because of the US election. Their young female presenters are so heavily made up, hair blown, bare arms and cleavages - that's the news readers by the way. They make our young woman look like they're bare faced and 'didn't make an effort'.

beverly10 Mon 19-Oct-20 10:56:53

Nothing surprises where the BBC is concerned. I rarely, if at all. listen to or watch.

jusnoneed Mon 19-Oct-20 11:34:24

Cannot stand Emma Barnett, maybe I can go back to having 5 live on again during the morning.

Sorry to see Sue Barker leaving Question of Sport, The two team captains have also been dropped. Suppose it will all be younger ones.

Jane10 Mon 19-Oct-20 11:45:01

Brenda Blethyn as Vera is no spring chicken and is very popular. Joan Bakewell still on Portrait artist of the year. Sarah Lancashire always shines in eg Happy Valley
Just two that I can think of. The recent Alan Bennett plays included some terrific older actresses and dont forget Alison Steadman. Good roles for older ladies. Of course Judy Dench and Maggie Smith are trotted out as often as poss.

sodapop Mon 19-Oct-20 12:24:09

Joan Bakewell - thinking man's crumpet, could it be any more sexist.

There are quite a few older women actresses actors but not as presenters . I agree with Greeneyedgirl the female presenters always have to be slim and elegant. There are a few presenters now with disabilities which is a step forward.

Davidhs Mon 19-Oct-20 15:58:57

I have a feeling it’s more to do with ratings than ageism, there are plenty of younger presenters as well a older ones. When the ratings flag new blood often appeals to a wider audience. Also when we reach “retirement” age do any of us want to commit to a long series or several days a week, Attenborough comments on issues as an “expert” he is not a regular presenter. Brian Cox is much younger commenting on Astromomy, the BBC have biases but I dont think Ageism is one.