Posted by: ginalazenby | April 15, 2013

Why a disparaging portrayal of a popular female TV presenter?


Why is there such a fixation on comparing and setting up two separate entities or personalities in competition… and with the young woman coming out of it as looking rather silly with her achievements undermined?

I felt particularly aggrieved when I read the Evening Standard’s need to compare two of the personalities involved in the forthcoming reportage of Baroness Thatcher’s funeral this week.  The BBC has decided to go all out with a special 3-hour live broadcast with an outside studio rigged up near St Paul’s Cathedral while ITV has decided to save money and stick to its original schedule with their presenters dipping in and out of the morning’s proceedings. It sounds like good sense to me. Why spend more if you don’t need to, as long as one channel is covering the events live. If you want the full works and a blow by blow account then watch the Beeb, if you want a different take then tune in to ITV’s This Morning show.

So why does the Evening Standard newspaper have to use this story of the different approaches planned by the two broadcasters as an opportunity to belittle a young woman. See the article. On the left is Holly Willoughby, popular co-presenter on This Morning …. in the right hand corner … veteran political commentator David Dimbleby. Ignoring the fact that Holly is part of a duo of presenters, the writer has chosen to create more dramatic effect by comparing, in a handy listing, the different ages, education and achievements of just Holly. She is a young 32 to his 74 years and the article helpfully points out that he has been broadcasting for 52 years compared with her ten. Her education was in High School and college while we are reminded that his was at a famous public school followed by Oxford. Her career in modeling and children’s TV is pitted against his impressive list of worthy political programmes and his Lifetime Achievement award.

As if that was not enough, we are reminded that Holly’s style comprises “plunging necklines, neon pink bodycon dresses, big hair” while his style is “sober suits, natty ties, bright socks”. It is not as if Holly herself decided to set herself up in competition with David … she is simply presenting her regular morning show, only she will have the added task on Wednesday of fielding commentary of an historic event, alongside Phillip Schofield, whose age and accomplishments have not been revealed here.

David Dimbleby may be a veteran broadcaster but the last line gives the clue to who will probably win the popularity stakes …. he is a “self-confessed Luddite” on social media with 1,000 followers while she is referred to as “a prolific tweeter with more than three million followers”. That speaks volumes to me …. let’s hope that some of her fans rally in her defense. Holly is a successful broadcaster and as such a very positive role model to aspiring young girls but the no-so-hidden message here is … watch out, when you reach the top, somebody in the media will create an opportunity to shine a disparaging light on your achievements in favour of a man (beauty versus brains) and belittle your success. Beware, it won’t be for anything that you have done.

Boo to the news writer on the Evening Standard who offered this piece of really shoddy journalism. Thank goodness the paper is free.


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