Every day, women have to budget extra time just to negotiate the “female uniform.” In our latest episode of Dare We Say, I confess my daily “hair hell” with the curling iron and various and sundry accountrements before walking out of the house. Listen, there’s no such thing as a man with a bad hair day! My co-host, Shawna Vercher, tells me that when she’s recognized at an airport, people are “far more preoccupied with whether they like my hair that curly” than with the content of her news broadcasts. So, are men ever judged for appearance first?
As an experiment, a male Australian TV anchor wore the same suit on camera every day for a year. Nobody noticed. Let’s face it — we can hardly tell those suits apart anyway. But imagine The TODAY Show’s Savannah Guthrie trying that trick. For a woman to compete with a man, she’s got to do the job as well or better than he – and look cute doing it.
But as women encroach in the board room, perhaps men are turning old beauty paradigms on their ear. Men’s “beauty” was a heretofore untapped market, yet, today men are actually starting to embrace skin care products. According to CNBC, since 2012, personal care products targeted at men have exploded globally by more than 70 percent. Currently, sales total $4.1 billion yearly and it is predicted that “yearly sales will grow to $4.6 billion by 2019.”
While Shawna says that at least she can “cover up imperfections with make-up,” no matter how many men “exfoliate,” no man will ever be judged for his facial features, wardrobe – or legs! The fact that nobody noticed what that male anchor was wearing tells me we pay more attention to what he is saying. With women, it’s still about how she’s looking.
If guys are now taking time to moisturize, maybe they’ll grow some appreciation for the extra time female politicians, board execs, anchors and, indeed, women in all walks of life have to spend in order to be perceived as professional, presentable and attractive – and still get the job done on time. As Fran Drescher once said, “It’s still a man’s world, otherwise we wouldn’t be wearing make-up!”
It’s worth asking what you notice first when you see a woman on camera. For the next week, every time you watch a woman on TV, whether a host, an anchor, an actress or politician, ask yourself what do you notice first? Hair, eyes, dress, legs, clothes? Her expression? Her voice?
Or the substance of what she’s saying?
Don’t miss a very entertaining episode of Dare We Say…