TV does indeed love totty

Women of a \”certain age and appearance\” struggle to be seen on television, former newsreader Alice Arnold has suggested, as she criticises a culture valuing the \”shape of their legs\” over their intellect.

Arnold, the partner of sports presenter Clare Balding, said equality was a “constant struggle” in a world which “prizes looks and youth so highly”.

Saying the world of television was full of men “of a certain age and appearance”, she argued women at the same stage of life would not currently be allowed on screen.

She also criticised the lack of female presenters on BBC Radio 4\’s Today, accusing the show of failing to represent half of the British population properly.

Targeting sexism and ageism in the world of television, she argued the BBC ought to do more to put a stop to it.


It\’s absolutely
true that some birds get on TV because they are attractive totty. NMice face, decent set of norks, these do indeed aid a career in front of the camera.

I don\’t find it all that surprising in humans I have to admit. Nor does it surprise me that men are treated differently. Again, it\’s fairly common among humans to judge males on status not looks.

But perhaps this is all wrong? Perhaps we shouldn\’t be doing this?

OK: that means that a pretty face and decent norks will no longer aid young women on getting on the box. Nor will young men be denied access as they\’re not silverbacks.

At which point, sure, stop discriminating aginst the saggier women as well.

But what I really don\’t think would be fair would be to promote the use of those older women without reducing the advantage that looks give younger women, or the way in which youth works against men.

If we\’re really going to stop discriminating then let\’s really do so, eh?

12 comments on “TV does indeed love totty

  1. You could take that a stage further. The above anti-discrimination policy suggested by Tim only applies to work that is rewarded in cash. How about the fact that a sizeable proportion of GDP is on a barter basis?

    E.g. in the traditional marriage, man goes out to work and gets cooking services and bonking rights in return. I.e. bonking has a monetary value, and those with good looks or “a decent set of norks” as Tim so eloquently puts it, get more bonks than others.

    Ergo everyone should have to state on their tax return how many bonks they’ve had during the course of the year, and be taxed accordingly.

    Quad Erat Demonstrandum.

  2. Interesting the focus on Today.

    Radio 4 seems to be buried in female presenters if you look at other progs.

    One example – Try Farming Today: Anna Hill and Charlotte Smith. I can’t remember when that last had a male presenter.

  3. Try reading Kurt Vonnegut’s 1961 short story “Harrison Bergeron”. It’s about a dystopian future where those who are too beautiful have to wear face masks, those who are too strong wear weights, and those who are too intelligent wear an earpiece which makes random noises to interrupt one’s train of thought. A happy future indeed.

  4. it is usually women that have ‘got into TV’ on account of being young and attractive that complain when they are usurped by younger and more attractive versions (see Selina Scott, Anna Ford et al) Sure they are smart too, but it was the looks that got them ahead of equally smart young men or equally smart but uglier women. This is a classic ‘pull up the ladder’ lobby tactic. It got me in, but now we need to change the rules to stop anyone else doing the same.

  5. I have never understood why this doesn’t equally apply to models or the fashion industry. It seems that there is one industry which is completely allowed, nay expected, to discriminate on the grounds of looks, but for some reason the equally superficial world of television (coz I’m sorry, but 90% of tv is) isn’t.

    Any visual medium will be weighted disproportionately to the nice-to-look-at because being nice to look at is an important job criterion. Complaining about it is not merely naive, but positively wrong. You might as well complain that biochemcial research discriminates against the stupid, and we should therefore have a greater proportion of morons in nuclear research, or that the firefighting industry discriminates against unfit cowards etc.

  6. She also criticised the lack of female presenters on BBC Radio 4?s Today

    Sarah Montague? Or is having 1 woman in a group of 3 main presenters, and 5 overall, a “lack”?

  7. Umm, let’s look at this logically.

    Any person (A) recruiting another person (B) for any job will assess B’s capability to do that job. If they don’t, then it’s discrimination in spades.

    But expressing an opinion as to capability is discriminatory in itself.

    Politicians and pressure groups have arrived at this conclusion independently, but not by way of logic. They just want discrimination in favour of their group – as in the case of AA who wants lots more old ladies on screen, or ministers in education who want more stupid poor people in universities just to even things up.

    So the logical conclusion is to roll dem bones, yes get out the dice for any human choice.

    I’m praying that I get the job of open heart surgery on politicians, current and past. The bad news, guys, is the anaesthetist just got lucky as well, so you may just have to grin and bear it.

    As an aside, that great crusader for equality, Tony Blair, never had black lesbian dwarf bodyguards, strangely preferring great big geezers who could kill people with a sneer.

  8. “… as she criticises a culture valuing the “shape of their legs” over their intellect…”

    I think she means a species, not a culture.

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