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Old 15 February 2018, 06:31 PM
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Default Kim Campbell calls sleeveless dresses 'demeaning' for TV broadcasters

Kim Campbell is admonishing female news anchors who wear sleeveless dresses on the air, calling the bare-armed attire "demeaning." The former prime minister tweeted her displeasure, saying "bare arms undermine credibility and gravitas."

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/kim-...sses-1.4533465

I do see her point in terms of women dressing relatively casually among a bunch of suited men and if the women in question are in sleeveless dresses because that is the way the producers of the news shows want them to dress I would have as big an issue with that as I do with the way some restaurants expect their female employees to dress. But if female news anchors are choosing to bare their arms because that's the way they prefer to dress does that truly undermine their "credibility and gravitas"?

At first glance I thought her comment was silly but now I'm wondering if she does have a point. I admit my first thought, in Canada, in February, usually is "seriously a sleeveless dress? is the studio that warm?" when I should be focusing on what they are actually saying!

Last edited by Sue; 15 February 2018 at 06:37 PM.
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Old 15 February 2018, 06:59 PM
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Considering how hot the lights on TV sets are, it's probably plenty warm enough for a sleeveless dress.

I don't think sleeveless dresses are demeaning, or even that they're necessarily "casual." In fact, IME, "dressier" for men tends to mean more clothes/less exposed skin, while for women it means the opposite. Sleeveless dresses on newscasters (and a former first lady) are a symptom of that odd double standard.

ETA: But the idea that "bare arms undermine credibility and gravitas" is just ridiculous.
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Old 15 February 2018, 07:04 PM
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What bothers me about her comment isn't that I defend the right of anyone to bare arms ( an overused joke going around right now) but that it's yet another criticism of the way women in the public sphere dress. I notice a lot of men on the news and weather shows who wear suit jackets that I think are too small for them - when I see them I always think either they've grown since they bought that jacket or they borrowed one from their little brother yet I bet you dollars to donuts that no one is going to start a twitter war commenting on that because No One Cares! But a lot of people care an awful lot what women wear.
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Old 15 February 2018, 08:22 PM
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I am just surprised that it was Kim Campbell, of all people, who came out with this statement. Back in 1993 she was photographed holding judicial robes in front of her with the appearance that she was wearing nothing. Didn't stop her from becoming PM
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Old 15 February 2018, 08:41 PM
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But could you see her arms in that photo? No, you could not.
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Old 15 February 2018, 10:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NorthernLite View Post
I am just surprised that it was Kim Campbell, of all people, who came out with this statement. Back in 1993 she was photographed holding judicial robes in front of her with the appearance that she was wearing nothing. Didn't stop her from becoming PM
I think the point is she was talking very specifically about newscasters, not saying that women in general should never have bare arms. I have noticed the sleeveless trend with women newscasters and had wondered about the reasons why - if there is any reason other than personal preference - but I don't really care that much. More idle curiosity than anything else.
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Old 16 February 2018, 01:48 PM
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If bare arms undermine credibility and gravitas, what about male politicians who repeatedly get caught shirtless? Is she saying Trudeau and Putin are not credible? 'Cos we've seen their bare arms, chest, belly button many times!

And someone replied to her about that photoshoot with the judicial robe, and she said it was done to make a point.

I guess (G)you missed the point you were photographed to make then, because the point was to highlight how women feel obligated to meet conflicting standards of beauty and professionalism in their job "Dress pretty" and "Dress professional" are often miles apart in some people's mind (They shouldn't be, IMO)

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Old 16 February 2018, 03:19 PM
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Huh, I've never really "noticed" whether or not the news person was wearing a sleeveless dress or not. It's not something that really catches my attention. I will admit to noticing if I think the dress is ugly or unflattering. I'll defend myself a bit by saying I notice if a male is wearing something I find ugly or unflattering too. Seeing as males wear pretty similar apparel it doesn't happen as much.

I really can't feature how having bare arms makes one less credible or serious. It's just a bizarre notion to me.
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Old 16 February 2018, 04:41 PM
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It’s not something I would notice, either, but since I’m in So Cal maybe I just see a lot more of it.

Actually, I have noticed Michelle Obama’s bare arms, but that’s because they look so much nicer than mine. If she can do it, though, and the Queen of England can do it (younger years, google her with Jackie Kennedy), why can’t newscasters?
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Old 16 February 2018, 09:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sylvanz View Post
I'll defend myself a bit by saying I notice if a male is wearing something I find ugly or unflattering too. Seeing as males wear pretty similar apparel it doesn't happen as much.
I don't know how often anyone outside Canada would see Don Cherry but he's a well known shoot off the mouth sportscaster here and his clothes are a real sight to behold. I'm pretty sure he dresses loud and obnoxious to match his personality but I challenge anyone to say they don't notice what he wears! Which I guess is why he does it.
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Old 16 February 2018, 09:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Pink Pill View Post
Actually, I have noticed Michelle Obamaís bare arms, but thatís because they look so much nicer than mine. If she can do it, though, and the Queen of England can do it (younger years, google her with Jackie Kennedy), why canít newscasters?
I seem to recall that Michelle Obama's bare arms garnered a fair amount of criticism.

I suspect there is a feeling that since male newscasters generally wear jackets and ties, the females should wear something analogous - a blazer and nice blouse, or something 'businesslike.' And I admit I would be pretty taken aback if I turned on the news and there was an anchorman wearing a sleeveless shirt and no jacket.

But clothing standards are different for men and women. For women, a sleeveless dress or top can be extremely casual, extremely formal, or anywhere in between. There are any number of reasons the standards are different -- some of which may in fact be demeaning -- but it's such a complex thing that it's hard to evaluate fully.

So, my rough rule of thumb is: if she's wearing it because she wants to, then it's not demeaning; if someone's making her wear it, then it might well be.
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Old 16 February 2018, 10:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E. Q. Taft View Post
So, my rough rule of thumb is: if she's wearing it because she wants to, then it's not demeaning; if someone's making her wear it, then it might well be.
Which is something I was wondering -- Do TV newscasters, regardless of gender, typically get to select their own wardrobes? Or does someone else pick it for them?
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Old 16 February 2018, 11:08 PM
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From what I've read -- and that isn't a great deal -- that sort of depends. I think it varies greatly between different news networks and stations, and on the individual personalities. I expect there's probably at least an informal "dress code" in place for most of them, and that sufficiently popular/powerful on-air people can push the rules further. (I don't watch Fox news much, but from what little I've seen and a few things I've heard, women who appear even as guests are often expected to wear short skirts.) There are also, of course, some technical requirements. I don't think it's typical for the broadcaster to require specific outfits, but it's not completely unheard of.
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Old 16 February 2018, 11:44 PM
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Ratings drive even the news on TV. The cute weather girl (word chosen on purpose) is something of a cliche. This applies to all on air personnel. Does the male senior anchor project truth, justice and the American Way? Is the female anchor too blonde to be believed? And my question - do these things really matter?
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Old 17 February 2018, 02:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sue View Post
I don't know how often anyone outside Canada would see Don Cherry but he's a well known shoot off the mouth sportscaster here and his clothes are a real sight to behold. I'm pretty sure he dresses loud and obnoxious to match his personality but I challenge anyone to say they don't notice what he wears! Which I guess is why he does it.
I would submit that because his clothes are always so loud that no one can remember what he was wearing yesterday.

Certainly nothing more than a "loud suit".
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Old 17 February 2018, 03:50 PM
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Well I googled Don Cherry suits. Holy wow! No one would lose him in a snow storm. Those are some of the ugliest patterns I've ever seen.
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Old 17 February 2018, 06:13 PM
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I've certainly taken note of some of what the male color commentator for the Olympic figure skating has been wearing. I mean, not that it's anything I would wear, like, ever, but you notice it....
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Old 17 February 2018, 08:20 PM
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People are saying the America figure skater commentators look like they’re at The Hunger Games. They certainly add to the entertainment value of the event.
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Old 18 February 2018, 03:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WildaBeast View Post
Which is something I was wondering -- Do TV newscasters, regardless of gender, typically get to select their own wardrobes? Or does someone else pick it for them?
I don't know if it is typical, but here in Australia there was an incident a few years ago were the female co-host of the late morning show went on air wearing the blouse of the female news reader of the early morning show. That is her own blouse, the one she wore in to work and was going to wear home. They shared a dressing room and the later morning one put it on by accident. They weren't that upset about it and told us on air as a bit of a joke. But if she got to choose the clothes she wore, I am assuming she would have known it wasn't hers. This was a show on one of Australia's major networks and I would say the highest ratings or next to highest rating.
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Old 18 February 2018, 12:56 PM
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This article was published in 2013.

Sleeveless: The sheath: a particular brand of female-anchor sexy.
Quote:
There’s a reason why the women of TV news have embraced sleevelessness while treading carefully in matters like cleavage (sexy weather reporters aside). Bare arms read as a kind of smart-sexy, a look that women in positions of authority can pull off. Michelle Obama is responsible for this, as are socialites of the Manhattan cocktail circuit, for whom bare arms long ago became a currency of wealth and fitness.
-- Karyn
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