Women on Daytime TV

On Friday 23rd October ITV's This Morning ran a segment about heterosexual men seeking romantic partners that are less intelligent to them, and had two opinionated guests to join the debate. Eamonn Holmes concluded the debate to be charged by "aggressive feminism" and another example of defensive women causing unnecessary arguments. He repeatedly interrupted Ruth, who looked resoundingly done with his shit. He clearly skipped the team building exercises in staff training. Holmes is well-known for being a bit of an arse with an unhumorous sense of humour and is, as proven during his God awful Sky News interview with Jeremy Corbyn, undeserving of his prestigious position in broadcasting. But what is more frustrating, and disturbing, is his tendency to display a flagrant disinterest for women at the forefront of national and global news.

The standard daytime TV set up is a man and a woman presenting the news, gossip and interviews together in a stylish studio and at least pretending to get along. Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield are the prime example, though they seem to have genuine chemistry and respect for one another as people, as well as colleagues. Female presenters and television stars, like Willoughby, are severely scrutinised for their outfits, even though they most likely don't have much say in the matter. Social media users and tabloids are quick to point out flaws in hair and make-up, 'unflattering' clothing, and fluctuations in weight or weight that doesn't meet the standards of female beauty in broadcasting, criticisms that are almost never considered for their male counterparts.

The Loose Women are a rare example of a popular daytime television programme dedicated to intelligent women discussing topical issues fairly and in-depth, in a state of unity and dignity. The Loose Women are slated as farcical and puerile because they often make crude jokes and comments about their sexuality, and this is still widely regarded as inappropriate, a) because their show is aired on a major channel at 1 o'clock on weekdays and b) because they're middle aged women, and so it is 'embarrassing' for them to openly discuss such explicit, hot topics. Lorraine Kelly's early morning show is a tame, solo version of the Loose Women, but everyone loves her because she's the physical embodiment of femininity, a perpetually saccharine caricature that was named an 'Honourary Gay' by Attitude Magazine and has probably never been in a heated argument because she's so damn nice to everyone all year round.

The point is that women on daytime television continue to be denied a fair opportunity to be honest without being accused of oversharing, or to be the expert opinion in a discussion (a rarity) without being degraded as amateur and delusional, or protective of themselves and/or other women without being shot down as bitchy or labelled as a dreaded 'feminazi', or to be a core part in a programme at all. Women are still, in 2015, to be looked at and not heard, which is extremely upsetting.

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