“The BBC has a serious problem with older women. Despite years of pressure, including legal action, the corporation is still resisting putting older women on TV,” she said.
“Of course, the BBC will deny it has an issue with women in their 50s and beyond being on screen, particularly on primetime. Inevitably, it will trot out a handful of names to try and prove the point, but it is a losing argument.”
It’s the natural flipside of toothsome young totty getting presenter gigs.
This does not, of course, apply to Ms. O’Reilly – she is a serious journalist who was only ever hired for her professional skills – but birds who do not look like a bag of spanners do get hired when those who do don’t. That is, TV is a visual medium, looks matter. Looks, in our society – among hom sap – do tend to mean youth and vitality for women. Or, to be frank, fertility and shaggability.
Every Ms. Willoughby hired for her obvious professional talents means some old trout not being so. To complain about this is not to complain about the BBC it is to complain about human beings.
Something of the reverse applies to men. The number of pouting 22 year olds presenting programmes is? The number of gravitas laden elders? The base calculation hasn’t changed, just the expression of it – looks matter in a visual medium and what is considered good looks is different across the sexes (OK, genders if you must) of our sexually dimorphic species.