I had a dream last night that I was watching the TV news and instead of seeing only young, flawless fresh-faced women, included in the dialogue were older women with lined, experienced, mature faces.
At first it seemed odd as it’s something you rarely see in mainstream media – except for maybe the token “old lady” with $100,000 worth of plastic surgery. You know who I’m talking about. Mysteriously these people disappear from the screen, like yesterday’s news.
But watching the images and hearing the voices of these brilliant older ladies, I began to feel more comfortable in my own skin, not a sense of fear but a sense of hope. Perhaps I too had more to say despite my collegin-challenged skin.
You might call it age equality.
In this dream, the audience wanted to listen to these women who had been in the trenches, who had covered multiple political campaigns, wars, disasters and had the mental and physical scars to prove it. In other words, they had substance and it meant something, something more than a soft face.
This is not to take anything away from those young, ambitious reporters. I too started out as a TV journalist when I was 22. But that unspoken line drawn in the sand once you’ve reached a certain age – now that you really have something to say – you’re no longer relevant? WTF?
I think of a courageous anchorwoman, Dana King, of KPIX-TV in San Francisco, who had been to Kosovo, Afghanistan, Rwanda, Honduras, Iraq, and too many other places to mention. But, perhaps her biggest battle since being a journalist of 24 years was to tell her boss she no longer wanted to color her hair.
King serves as an inspiration for women in all industries. By taking one simple act, she chipped away at the current paradigm. It’s something all of us can do in our own way to stand up for age equality.