Hillary Clinton as soon as mentioned: “Pay consideration to your hair, as a result of everybody else will.” It’s been two weeks for the reason that stunning news that longtime CTV News anchor Lisa LaFlamme was dismissed after 35 years with the community. It’s nonetheless not clear why she was let go.
But within the aftermath of LaFlamme’s departure, there have been allegations LaFlamme’s determination to permit her hair to go gray was questioned by executives.
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LaFlamme’s termination, and the allegations that newsroom executives made feedback about her hair, have angered many.
More than 70 distinguished Canadian journalists, activists, politicians and artists have signed an open letter condemning LaFlamme’s dismissal.
Bell Media, which owns CTV, has denied that LaFlamme’s elimination had something to do together with her age or going gray. The firm says that terminating LaFlamme’s contract was a “business determination”.
In a post on LinkedIn, Bell CEO Mirko Bibic mentioned: “The narrative has been that Lisa’s age, gender or gray hair performed into the choice. I’m glad that that is not the case.” Amid backlash over LaFlamme’s dismissal, Michael Melling, vp of news at Bell Media, is on a depart of absence pending the end result of a office evaluate.
I’ve some news… pic.twitter.com/lTe3Rs0kOA
— Lisa LaFlamme (@LisaLaFlamme_) August 15, 2022
Whatever the reason for LaFlamme’s dismissal, the episode has as soon as once more highlighted the gendered ageism many ladies proceed to face.
Aging and gender
Unfortunately, this story is nothing new on the earth of ageism. Ageism is damaging stereotypes, prejudice or discrimination directed towards getting old folks. Issues surrounding ageism proceed to be widespread in our society and mainstream media.
Though ageism impacts all older adults, girls are topic to the best discrimination. The requirements for attractiveness in our consumerist tradition are outlined by youthful traits and are continuously portrayed via the media.
How girls are judged in comparison with males when it comes to bodily look varies immensely.
Take the well-known (and comparatively new) time period dad bod. A “dad bod” is a male physique sort that’s described as “softly spherical”.
It means that, as a result of a person has discovered a accomplice and fathered youngsters, he doesn’t want to fret about sustaining a sculpted physique. Dad bods have been celebrated as a result of males like Leonardo DiCaprio have made them common.
Where is the equal for girls? Is there a mother bod? Of course there may be, but a mother bod is often a lady who has “let herself go” as she’s aged and is not fascinating.
This gendered ageism is especially obvious in terms of bodily look. The unrealistic strain and expectations placed on girls when it comes to magnificence and youthfulness is a part of the rise within the significance of aesthetic values in society.
These values affect the notion that gray hair on a lady produces one of many least fascinating personas in Western society – an outdated girl.
“Ideal” photographs and media representations of ladies exaggerate our expectations of feminine bodily attractiveness: perpetually youthful, skinny, light-skinned and toned. This is a bodily look that’s not consultant of nearly all of girls, particularly not older girls.
The double customary in terms of getting old speaks to the fact that getting old girls are judged the harshest in society. The lack of youthfulness (which is related to attractiveness) makes girls much less fascinating.
These dangerous requirements of magnificence and getting old have ignited calls for an intersectional strategy to deal with the cultural expectations of ageism and bodily appearances.
Leading feminist students like Susan Bordo have said that as girls are socialized to be extra nervous about their bodily appearances and getting old, the extra broken their self photographs and confidence will likely be.
Grey is for males but not girls
LaFlamme and her alleged expertise of gendered ageism makes for some fascinating comparisons.
There are complete articles, boards, hashtags and social media websites that remember “silver foxes” (older males with gray or white hair). What is the equal of a silver fox for girls?
Anderson Cooper continues internet hosting his present on CNN with gray hair. George Clooney and Steve Carell are praised and labelled as engaging for their gray hair.
Most notably, LaFlamme’s predecessor, Lloyd Robertson, was allowed to remain within the anchor’s chair lengthy after his hair turned gray, all whereas with the ability to depart on his personal phrases when he was 77.
This is as a result of getting old males are seen as suave, distinguished and complex. Women are simply seen as outdated.
“Whatever a lady does or does not do together with her hair will have an effect on how others reply to her and thus her social energy”, that means that ladies have a selection: let the pure technique of getting old take over and go gray (and be socially dismissed), or dye their hair to look youthful and be extra “socially accepted”.
LaFlamme’s expertise is the spark that has started a fireplace.
Brands that joined in solidarity with LaFlamme embrace Wendy’s (their iconic crimson head brand switching to gray hair), Sports Illustrated and Dove Canada (tweeting #MaintainTheGrey).
These corporations have taken a step in the fitting path. Though this matter looks as if a gray space, it’s a lot deeper than the color of LaFlamme’s hair. It is a deeply complicated matter of gendered ageism.
With extra girls (and getting old girls) within the work power, corporations must learn to retain, respect and develop older staff.
Responding to the mistreatment of LaFlamme and making her an inspiring function mannequin is the start of a constructive change.