Would she be more effective if she were prettier?

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-08-2009
Would she be more effective if she were prettier?
6
Tue, 02-18-2014 - 6:28am

Mary Beard is a classics professor at Cambridge University in England who often appears on television.  She is 58 and refuses to dye her grey hair or wear makeup. Most times after she appears, there is more comment on her appearance than the content of her shows. would she be more effective if she were more conventionally attractive?  <http://www.theguardian.com/media/2013/jan/21/mary-beard-suffers-twitter-abuse>

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-22-2013

No.  They'd just find something else about her appearance to either praise or tear apart. 

Avatar for savcal2011
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-06-2010
I didn't watch the link, nor am I familiar with the story. However, I think whether or not she might be more effective depends on one's definition of effective and on the goal of the television piece. If their audience is intended to be reasonable, mature people who are interested in the content of the story, I doubt she'd more effective madeup and non-grey. However, if the intent is to reach a new audience, to reach people that might not pay attention otherwise, then appearance is one way to grab their attention - and then hope they stay interested due to content. While I think one shouldn't judge on appearance - appearance can be an attention grabber. So appearance can be important. However, given her field, and given the setting, I'd say that in her case, it wouldn't matter much.

"I don’t mind a banshee, that’s fine. 2 banshees? I HATE you. I actually wish bad things upon you." -- Day[9] Daily #459 P1

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-31-2011

grapthars_hammer wrote:
No.  They'd just find something else about her appearance to either praise or tear apart.

Sadly, I think you're right. Any woman with authority or power is immediately stripped of her dignity and her sexuality.

Exhibit A: Hillary Clinton. 

Her hair, her clothing, the way she carries herself, is all up for public debate while her male counterparts' messages are weighed by their content. The same was true of former governor Jennifer Granholm here in Michigan--she was repeatedly referred to as "Jenny" in a derogatory way. And let us not forget what First Lady Michelle Obama has to go through, what with the likes of Rush Limbaugh making mad fun of her stature and body.

Strong women are a threat to society. I'm not convinced that men are the sole culprits of this sentiment, either. There seem to be many women who would prefer to keep other women in the kitchen. Even in the microscopic size of the group of regulars on this board, we have our own would-be Phyllis Schafly.  

Avatar for savcal2011
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-06-2010
To be fair, Obama get dinged for wearing mom khakis.

"I don’t mind a banshee, that’s fine. 2 banshees? I HATE you. I actually wish bad things upon you." -- Day[9] Daily #459 P1

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-31-2011

No one was making fun of the size of his ass in those khakis, though. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999

If her main job is to be a professor, I would really think that it doesn't matter what she looks like.  Also, it appears from glancing at the article that her show is called "Meet the Romans" which, I would imagine, is some kind of historical show that we would watch here on PBS.  I think the audience for that type of show is more intellectual and not concerned with the attractiveness of the host.  I think that people who are regular news or entertainment hosts need to be somewhat attractive or at least do the best with their appearance--I'm thinking of evening news, Today show, etc.  I think if someone is in tne entertainment industry they have to be aware that looking good for TV is part of their job.  I really don't think there is anything wrong with that.  I also think that if someone is good at their job they will be kept on beyond the time where they are just a pretty face--I mean, Barbara Walters was on TV in her 80's.  I'm sure she had face lifts, etc. but at her age, she was not being kept on TV just for her looks--she was popular and good at interviewing.

I do think (since someone mentioned Hillary Clinton) that judging women who are accomplished in other areas besides entertainment on their looks is totally unfair--who cares if someone who wants to be president is attractive?  Wouldn't it be more appropriate to care if they are smart and can do the job?  And that's one area where I think that male politicians do not get the scrutiny that women do.  Although if you look at the presidents who were most attractive, JFK and Obama, I'm sure that their good looks added to their charisma.