And so to Round 2,426 of the debate about what us ladies should, or shouldn’t wear on screen. It’s the sports reporters at Sky, this time, being lambasted by Gabby Logan for being too glamorous. They wear “leotards”, says the not-exactly-demure presenter, while their male counterparts wear suits and ties. They are denied a “career path”, and are simply there for “window dressing”- while the men? Presumably, closely mentored, and there for their expertise.
Come off it. Nobody is given a “career path” in the maelstrom of the media any more. I would say Logan is cross because cheery Clare Balding ran off with the Olympics coverage, and is now in the awkward position of reversioning a strategy.
Well, here’s the thing. I am quite often on the Sky News sofa reviewing the papers. I am sometimes in madly high heels. Often a short skirt. Sometimes over-the-knee leather boots. I have been seen in shorts. This sort of stuff is routine in my wardrobe. It is routine for many women on screen, unless you are reporting from a war zone.
My female counterparts on the sofa are in similar stuff. Bright stretchy dresses. Really very high heels. The weather presenters are usually in cocktail dresses. Even the disgruntled Logan admits to sporting high heels. For a radio show. Fine; this is how women dress these days. I’ll get to that in a minute, but firstly, the question is this.
Is the outfit all that counts? Are are the female sports presenters the human version of flouncy curtains? From reasonably regular exposure at the workface, I would say not. They seem to me to be experts, familiar with every twitch, nuance and prediction in their field. They know the inner workings of Arsene Wenger’s mind, Murray’s top-spin and Chris Froome’s thighs. They are also pretty sporty themselves; Sky’s Charlie Webster is currently training to run 14 marathons inside a week, for charity.
So, back to the clothes. Do we have an equivalent of the neutral “suit and tie” combo which most men wear? We do not. Logan might complain, but 10 seconds on the High Street would reveal that the market is full of sexy clothes. Presumably because women buy them. Even Boden ventures above the knee, and M&S has a bodycon dress in its Limited range (I own it, and have worn it on the Sky sofa).
The collapse of Nicole Farhi says it all. Women don’t want to dress in giant trousers, or shapeless, creased linen sacks which finish half way down the calf any more. Call it the legacy of Madonna, Victoria Beckham, or Pippa Middleton, but we like clothes which show off our shape. It doesn’t mean we are stupid. Or that we can’t organise our own “career path”.