The Sunday Post (Dundee)
Time to sack the men who put pressure on women to lose weight
I MAY be at my fighting weight now thanks to my fun-filled exercise classes, but in the past I was, as my mother would say, a little on the chubby side.
My weight has yo-yoed over the years.
After I had my daughter and later on, in my 40s, I was definitely rather hefty.
Despite being on national TV five days a week, I have never been told by my bosses to lose weight or change my appearance.
I wasn’t hired because of how I looked, but because of my journalistic skills, my ability to interview people from all walks of life and to cope with the unexpected on live TV.
So I was appalled at the news from Egypt this week that eight female TV presenters had been told to lose weight within a month or face the sack.
I’ve seen photographs of these intelligent, professional women and they are hardly in the Hattie Jacques league.
Even if they did happen to be vastly overweight, so what?
It wouldn’t affect their ability to do their job.
It’s an absolute insult for bosses at Egypt’s state broadcaster to demand they should conform to some sort of idealised version of what women should look like.
I wouldn’t imagine in a million years that they would make the same demands of the male presenters they employ.
It’s pure sexism, at its most horrible and destructive.
What a terrible message to send out to young Egyptian women.
They are basically being told that you cannot appear on TV unless you are slim. It would be funny if it weren’t so utterly sad and tragic.
The presenters themselves are, understandably, incandescent with rage.
I sincerely hope they dig their heels in and refuse to conform to their bosses’ ridiculous, ignorant demands.
I also hope that viewers in Egypt, male and female alike, get behind them and show their support.
This thinking is dangerous and damaging, and belongs in the dark ages.
I’ve been lucky to have worked in breakfast TV where appearance has never been at the top of the list.
Of course we can’t shuffle on to the sofa in our pyjamas and slippers looking like an unmade bed but, equally, we aren’t taking part in a beauty parade or fashion show.
As long as we look clean and neat, then it’s fine.
What we wear and how we look shouldn’t distract viewers from the content of the show.
I lost weight because I wanted to feel healthier, happier and fitter.
It was never about how I looked on screen, but was all to do with being as fit as I could be.
I feel very sorry indeed for the humiliation inflicted upon my female colleagues in Egypt and would love to think that the backlash would make their bosses see sense and think again.
They should apologise profusely to every one of the eight women they have offended, and think twice before uttering such insults in the future.