With exception of Kay Burley’s of this World, having the quality of drawing people’s eye or interest is what any female presenter must possess to remain on our screens.And am one of those who don’t care about the age of a presenter but none of my bloke blud has a taste of watching telly where a skirtie is past 35 years.If a female presenter is fat like its common in some African countries, its even a turn off to many male viewers.It is very hard to think of female presenters who would be aged over 50 or 60 in Africa television today.Old female presenters are unwanted lot despite having extensive knowledge of the area on which they report.They are considered to be not conventionally attractive, likely with thinning hair and carrying excess weight. However, some keep their job because of being intelligent and experienced which comes in handy when trust and respect by television viewers is factored.Local programs however represent a different scenario.Sifting through a couple of drama and sitcoms produced in Africa by Africans, they reflect a more diverse range of women in terms of age, size, and even racial background.However, when it comes to the female hosts and reporters of commercial television’s news and high audience programmes, all largely fit a narrow mould of young, white, and thin.The bias toward young female television presenters is not confined to just a few countries countries. A recent finding of major broadcasters in the Africa found that of all presenters aged over 45, only 12%t of these were women.
Also, 56% of presenters overall were women, indicating that there is a firm “spent-by” date for women that does not apply to men.The spent-by date applies because ageing women often cannot maintain the standard of youthful attractiveness demanded of them, but not their male colleagues. If nobody wants to see old women on television, I wonder why aren’t grey-haired male presenters also replaced when their jowls start sagging.I wish could name some of them.Last month, a Kenyan female journalist who reads this blog religiously, told me about her treatment after the birth of her second child. She was allegedly told that she was getting a bit long in the tooth and that she needed to make way for some of the younger girls. After a few days, she was fired at the age of thirty five.As she sought my views on how she can start blogging and make money, of cause this blog doesn’t entertain adverts, I pointed out that the age of female journalists is usually mentioned in media profiles as if it is a measure of women’s sexual currency and just how long it will be before it expires.I advised her to focus on a certain niche and will definitely support her despite being thousands of miles away from each other.Her case isn’t an exception but what media companies are doing to women is despicable. Watch any Tv channel in Africa and chances are that woman on breakfast television have learned the sad truth that what what they wear can sometimes generate a bigger reaction than any interview they can ever conduct.The laborious hair styling and make up required for women to appear on television is a standard practice unless a presenter wish to attract boos and vicious comments from members of the viewing audience. Yet too much make up can also elicit similar responses.
A recent social media frenzy from a South African Tv viewer who disliked a presenter make up made him liken the presenter to a two bit whore ready for a bit of business.Women’s role in media solely relies on their conventional beauty.Ads for commercial news bulletins repeatedly use words like experience and trust and that of cause excludes most women.Haven’t we all seen how camera usually focuses in on CNN male newsreader who have had a long career in the industry. In International media outlets like Sky News, Euro News, BBC, age is an asset for male and female newsreaders, who acquire authority with the passing of years and the acquisition of more wrinkles. On Sky News, newsreader Kay Burley, whose career began in the late 1980s, is a rare exception but if she was in Africa, I can bet my neck she wouldn’t be a telly presenter as she is. She is a woman over 55 who is valued for her experience and knowledge. However, the ratings driven networks in Africa do not seem willing to allow women to enjoy long careers that are similarly based on their expertise, rather than physical appearance.Some people will suggest that television is a visual medium and that men are also often selected for presenting roles based on their appearance. Indeed, television is a representation of reality and there is a particular reason why,a particular subset of appealing people should be hired.What differs with TV male presenters compared to women is that men regularly do not conform to what is considered attractive in terms of youth and weight, but are valued for their intelligence and an aura of reliability. This is not to say that the young women who are working in Africa television are not equally capable or skilled, but rather to condemn the fact that they’ll never be afforded as many years in which to develop and to earn a living as their male colleagues.