Has anyone ever done a PhD on what the demeanour of newsreaders tells us about a country? Gert has recently been watching the tg1 news to try and get her Italian going again, and she’s been struck by the different presentation of male and female news anchors. The men seem fairly normal – they look into the camera in a relaxed way and speak calmly. The women? First there’s the youngish blonde “get stuffed” lady, who rattles off massacres, avalanches and political corruption like a machine gun and glares sulkily into the camera as if to say, “if that’s the sort of thing that interests you, get a life”. She can barely contain her irritation at having to waste her time reading this stuff to us dimwits. Then the older brunette who gives some indication of relating to the news stories but has the same machine-gun delivery. It’s as if tg1 has decided that women, to maintain credibility, can’t appear emotional.
There isn’t the same gender divide between the French news anchors. They have to be elegant and easy on the eye, but it seems they’re allowed to be human beings. It’s possible in America, at least on PBS, for the women to be well beyond any claim to being hot and to seem interested and knowledgeable. And on Australian free-to-air (the ABC and SBS) the news anchors are pleasant, normal-attractive people who seem to have some emotional connection to what they’re reading. The commercial stations are probably another matter, but the failing there is likely to be manufactured emotion rather than “get stuffed”. And there’s a lot of Botox – for both sexes, to be fair.
That’s Gert’s deep sociological observation for the week. Make of it what you will.
Postscript: a very strange thing has happened. After Gert wrote this post, but before she posted it, the “get stuffed” lady has suddenly got over whatever it was that was bothering her. She now seems mildly concerned about the massacres, avalanches and political scandals. Oh, the power of the blog, even when it hasn’t yet been posted!