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Women in the media, age and over or under exposure

by on October 28, 2014

There was much discussion in recent weeks about the various ‘leaks’ of images of female celebrities, particularly the issue that these were ‘private’ images (see for example this discussion on the BBC).  I didn’t follow the story that closely but even a quick glance suggests that these were by and large images of young women.

In comparison to these stories about ‘overexposure’ of younger women comes this blog in the Guardian asking “where are all the older women”, though here with a concern for news and current affairs exposure rather than the other, unwanted kind.  Here Jane Martinson notes that “in the last few weeks it has emerged that 70-year-old John Simpson’s contract with the BBC had been extended indefinitely, while 75-year-old David Dimbleby is to anchor the corporation’s election coverage. They are fine broadcasters both but where are all the female septuagenarian reporters and anchors?”

This is not unfortunately a question to which she has the answer.  And valid though it is to ask specific questions about women in the media (itself the subject of a house of lords committee as explained in the article), surely this issue applies more broadly?  Indeed Jane concludes by suggestions that media should “reflect the society in which we live”.  Perhaps the issue is that media IS reflecting one aspect of that society, the workplace.  It has been long suggested that women encounter a ‘double jeopardy’ associated with age and gender, and while this may be particularly visible in the media world, it is happening in workplaces of all shapes and sizes across the country.

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