Saturday, 28 April 2012

On Appearances

“After all, I know I’m no match for This Morning’s pulchritudinous host Holly Willoughby, nor are male politicians spared ridicule about their looks (even I have noted David Cameron’s startling resemblance to Henry from Thomas the Tank Engine.)

But there is a difference in the treatment of men and women here.

A A Gill didn’t just mock Mary Beard’s hair, he suggested she shouldn’t be on our screens at all. Similarly, my not looking like Rosie Huntington-Whiteley was seen as a weapon to invalidate my opinions — something that doesn’t happen to equally genetically challenged male commentators. Beard has given a perfect illustration of how to handle such criticism, though: women mustn’t let the b******s win.”


Yes! This is exactly the difference between the way that women’s appearance is commented on and the way that men’s is. There was an article by Bryony Gordon in The Telegraph arguing that men are judged on their looks as well, it’s just that we choose to ignore it. This argument misses the point entirely. If a comment is made on a man’s appearance, such as the example she used about David Cameron looking like ham, then it doesn’t imply that because of the way they look, they are not qualified to do their job or have an opinion. However, if a woman’s appearance is commented on, such Rosamund Urwin who wrote this article being called too ugly to be a stripper, then it is a way to bar them from having an opinion. It shuts them up, undermines them, and implies that they are not qualified to be in the position they are in. That is the difference between commenting on a man’s appearance and commenting on a woman’s.

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