Ageism and hair-colorism in the workplace

Jeanne Thompson, 44,  is an example of a woman who had a good experience transitioning out from gray hair in the workplace. Unfortunately, according to Star-Telegram, there are still women who face ageism in the workplace.

News anchor Dana King, 53, had to ask her manager about ending her dying her hair, but he was not happy with the idea. Of course the industry the women works in plays a huge factor; financial services versus on-air media.

There seems to be a trend in magazines and other media outlets that report on these issues: using celebrities as an example of society’s acceptance.

It’s one to tell the story of Jane Doe, age mid-40s, who decided to give up the gray dye and the story was dandy (or not). But it’s also reassuring, if not more, to hear of women in the Hollywood spotlight that have done the same thing.

Seattlepi is an online news blog that reported on Lady Gaga and Kelly Osbourne showing the greys in the same article that reported on Jeanne Thompson.

But the article definitely brings truth in saying that it is difficult for working women to be bold about following the trend of giving up dying. The article quotes David Scher, a Washington civil rights attorney who said, “I don’t think a woman in the workplace is going to follow that trend. I think women in the workplace are highly pressured to look young. If I were an older working person, the last thing I would do is go gray” (Italie).

While there are even legal laws like the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 to protect ageism in the workplace, there are issues of what is dubbed “hair-colorism” in the workplace.

All these success stories, of course, occur after women have been dying their hair for over 20 years and are in positions of authority and control. This really doesn’t say much about women having the right to freely gray because of such negative perceptions of aging.

Resources:
A job is not to dye for: Many women going gray
Gray hair’s in fashion, but what about at work
Houston Chronicle
Terri Holley

The War on Moms and Women in Politics

The recent comment by Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen saying that Mitt Romney’s wife Ann “had never worked a day in her life” has created a lot of controversy on the perception of women as it relates to politics.

While Obama answered diplomatically that “There is no tougher job than being a mom,” The Huffington Post agrees that “what has been missed in the hoopla is a simple truth: Hilary Rosen was right.”

In a way, this article sheds light on the stark difference the worlds of the wealthy and the world of the working live in. Romney’s dogmatic theories of letting the poor be poor all are part of a philosophy that people in Romney’s circle seem to fall under, that “they are all out of touch with the realities of everyday life for the majority of Americans, and indeed the world’s global citizenry” (Williams).

The article notes that the wealthy seem to miss how many missed opportunity mothers have balancing the workplace and the home.

Minnesota Daily highlights another problem regarding the mistreatment of women in politics. This contains to issues regarding birth control, abortion, and equal pay.

“Repealing this law is a denial of the gap between men’s and women’s pay that still persists. Taking away equal pay guarantees is a step backward for women’s rights in the workplace, and people should be appalled by Walker’s decision to do so” (Daily Editorial Board)

There is a huge gap that must be questioned to ask where the power for women come from; where are women in politics represented?

Again, the Huffington Post reinforces that wealth plays a huge role, but even then it seems as if women don’t have enough power to fight their own battles. As MN Daily notes, “A major problem is women are largely underrepresented in government” (Daily Editorial Board). Statistically, U.S. ranks 90th in the world for some in legislatures and women make up 51% of the population and only 17% of Congress.

While the topic seems to be directly affecting women, the men seem to be making all the decisions.

But do young women coming up in the city today hold a similar apprehension about an allegiance to old archetypes of female power? To grievances about equal pay or ideas about the perils of exploitive media images? Or have they achieved sufficient distance to reclaim this territory?

Resources:
Defining Dignity: Romney, Working Mothers and Double Standards
The New Shades of Feminism?
For women, a long road left
Spanking Goes Mainstream
Why So Angry, Dad?
The Allure of Messy Lives