What is the most important asset a major network news reporter can possess ?  Apparently,  it depends on whether you are male or female.  Men are allowed to age gracefully.  But there is a double standard for men, women and beauty on TV.

How often do you see a female newscaster on CNN, ABC,  NBC  or Fox News who does’t resemble  a fashion model?  Typically, they have cascades of long, wavy hair,  sparkling white teeth, glowing skin,  lash extensions and perfect makeup.  You can’t quite concentrate on what they’re saying, because you’re  wondering if they have dental implants.

Women must look beautiful on television
Beautiful Woman

Just for fun, I clicked on the website for all the major network news reporters and journalists.  And guess what I saw?  Many ordinary looking men, some quite old, with thinning hair.  Conversely, there were few  women who didn’t qualify as the stereotypical  Pretty Woman.   And of course, female reporters must be model thin and wear designer clothes.

There’s a refreshing change when you turn to Public Broadcasting.  One of our favorite  Indiana news review programs features men and women who probably wouldn’t win a beauty pageant . Even though the participants  don’t try to look like twenty somethings, they are neatly groomed and well dressed.  What’s most appealing is the fact that these people   are remarkably well informed and knowledgeable.

Why  must all  major network female reporters  and journalists strive for the appearance of youthful beauty?

It’s like aging is a disease.   Even Andrea Mitchell, who must be in her seventies, has bleached hair,  theatrical make up, and appears to have had  surgical help.  Saw Martha Raddatz tonight on ABC.  She’s pushing fifty,  but still has long,  blonde hair curling around her shoulders like a college girl.   Leslie Stahl  wears slathers of bright,  gooey,  lipstick. Sadly , if these women  decided to look  their age, they  would probably be banished from television.

There is a double standard for  successful news reporters.  Women must be beautiful, and the men may or may not be handsome, but they aren’t  there because of their looks.   Women reporters haven’t come as far as they would like to believe.  They’re still judged mainly on their appearance,  and they won’t get very  far on television  if they look like Eleanor Roosevelt.

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