Only last week I brought to the office an article written in the ‘80s about serious work with stressed execs in the public sector. My colleague and I were referred to as ‘executive sweets’. How attractive we were mattered more than our professionalism. The editor of the paper knew how much I hated our depiction so he had the metal plate mounted on wood so I could never lose it! It is now in the ladies’ loo and a subject of hilarity.
When I launched the first psychology practice in Scotland with a female partner, the woman journalist wrote – ‘unfair to call them the Charlie’s Angels of Scottish Psychology, but they look the part’, etc. The fact that we were doing something innovative was embroidered with descriptions of us as attractive young woman.
We learned lessons from those articles. Now I am always happy to talk to the press. When I read these articles again they are funny but strangely not nearly as awful as I thought at the time. Have I just become inured to the way women are depicted? Until we have many more women in every walk of life, at every level we will continue to be such a novelty that joke headlines like today’s #Legs-it will continue.
While men’s attire may be discussed – Boris’s dishevelment, Jeremy Corbin’s lack of a tie, their bodies aren’t compared. Would true equality mean that we discuss male politician’s six packs? Oh wait, we have Justin Trudeau for that, don’t we?