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Going grey

by on September 19, 2012

Apparently following on from a ‘disclosure’ by Fiona Bruce that she colours her hair, the Daily Express features an article today in which two people debate ‘what’s wrong with going grey’.

Not entirely unexpectedly, the case against going grey is advanced by a woman and the case for is argued by a man. In the case of the former,  there are points made which link to the ongoing discussion about lookism in TV careers and its impact on older women.

From → In the news

3 Comments
  1. Paula Fitzgerald permalink

    Why am I not surprised? There is a whole (cosmetic) industry built on looking ‘younger’, and women ‘age’ whilst men become ‘more interesting’ (or so they say!). On a more serious note, research evidence (Duncan and Loretto, Nelson, Abrams, CIPD, etc.) shows that women tend to be considered ‘old’ about 10 years earlier than men. An interesting comment made to me last week by a revenue-producing analyst from a large banking organisation when she was interviewing for an internal transfer: “a hiring manager in Switzerland asked me how old I was…. and I panicked”. She followed “..as a woman in my 30s, I fear that managers may give preference to a man [of the same age] due to concerns that I may go off on maternity leave for a year or two…”. So…if women are ‘young’ they may go off on maternity leave…if they are older…they are ‘old’ and therefore ‘invisible’, ‘difficult’ or…let me think…perhaps ‘over-qualified’.

    Mmm…it would appear that we are never the ‘right’ age! except… during World War II…when there was a huge shortage of men available to work and women were needed in the workplace. Society, in view of the ageing workforce and lower birth rates that Western Europe is experiencing, in addition to the pension fund(s) deficit in the UK, ought to take a much (much) closer -and deeper- look at the way ‘age’ is being handled. The UK Government and employers should start a dialogue (sooner rather than later). If they do not, they may plunge otherwise capable and well qualified employees into abject poverty due to an unavoidable natural process that affects all human beings regardless of class, gender, ethnicity, disability, or sexual orientation.

  2. You may be interested in a follow-up piece on grey hair in today’s Independent

    http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/the-bbcs-trouble-with-grey-hair-8157106.html

    which argues that women on TV with grey hair have to either be an ‘eccentric’ or a ‘one off’.

    • Paula Fitzgerald permalink

      Thank you Rebecca, I will read it. Incidentally, there was a sparkling debate on BBC1 (Breakfast News) between two female invitees and the programme’s regular presenters. Not sure if this was done on purpose, but it was interesting to note that one of two invitees colours her hair (she said so openly) she is employed by a national newspaper; whilst the other (invitee) sported a full head of silver hair, she is self-employed. The latter said that “her clients hire her because of her ‘experience'” and that “having grey hair was advantageous”. The employed woman said that “she would not be seen with grey hair, and that it was necessary for her to keep looking ‘young’ for as long as possible”. They both agreed that men aged more ‘interestingly’ than women, and are considered ‘older’ later than females.

      On an annecdotal basis, I know women that look about 8-10 years younger than their chronological age, and have shared with me that when they start a new job and have to show their passport (which clearly includes their date of birth) they get some interesting (surprising) comments about their age. To the point that, one particular person, said that she would have not got her job if they had known how old she really was!

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