It’s no wonder women are afraid to age

After 35 years, Lisa Laflamme was “retired” from her role as CTV National News anchor. The award-winning news anchor was 58.

A couple of years back, she stopped dying her hair and went grey, and she continued to do her job expertly and continued to look sensational.

Why am I linking these two topics and even writing about this? Simply put, any career woman feels attacked when they see such news headlines. There is an overwhelming feeling of “Am I next?” and the head-scratcher of a question: “Why is how women look linked to their work performance so much still in 2022?”

I have a lot of questions about the removal of this consummate professional. Did she do something worthy of dismissal? I’m confident we would have heard about it by now if she had. I also don’t think that her video on Twitter announcing how she was blindsided by this decision would have been so genuine if she’d known she’d done something to end her own career.

Was this decision about Laflamme’s age? Lloyd Robertson retired at 77. If she did nothing wrong, and other news anchors have continued to work into their seventies, why did she have to say goodbye, let alone over Twitter? Robertson was allowed a leisurely retirement and an on-air goodbye.

Her replacement, 39 year old Omar Sachedina, took to Twitter last Monday, less than an hour after Laflamme’s video, thrilled to be the new anchor. Not surprisingly, not all of the comments he received were positive. Many felt that he should have waited until people had time to process Laflamme’s dismissal.

There is nothing worse than when you hear: “We’ve decided to go in a different direction” in an HR matter. It’s a cold way to inform someone that you aren’t their choice, and it gives the person hearing it no closure. It really just hides in it the truth of the matter which could be grounds for a lawsuit if it is “you’re too old” or “we don’t like you, even if you’re good at your job.”

CTV cited a change in viewer tastes as part of their reasoning, however, that is particularly suspect given that Laflamme won the Canadian Screen Awards best news anchor award in both 2022 and 2021. Clearly, she was excelling in her career and the audience was quite happy with her. I understand that when you are on television, you are expected to maintain a certain appearance, but nothing about Laflamme was off-putting. If anything, she was appealing to one of the largest demographics out there right now; the baby boomers. She won the news anchor award both years since she’d gone grey.

My whole life I keep seeing that a woman’s value seems tied to her beauty and ability to reproduce. When either or both of those qualities are gone, so is their usefulness. This is insane. Men get to grow old more gracefully. No one asks a man why he isn’t dying his hair when he goes grey. Case in point, I can guarantee that no one questioned Lloyd Robertson going grey, but execs at CTV did ask who allowed Laflamme to go grey. “Allowed” her.

Ironically, young women were dying their hair grey as a trend for a while there, but little did they know that it might be unpalatable to some men.

It’s no wonder women are afraid to age.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *