“At 58, I still thought I’d have a lot more time to tell more of the stories that impact our daily lives.”
Beauty standards in society have made the lives of women harder for centuries. There’s so much pressure put on us to have clear, wrinkle-free skin. We’re expected to dye gray hair and keep body hair to a minimum. Many women feel pressure to dress up and have their hair and makeup done, just to go to the grocery store. One News Reporter from Canada has decided to break these barriers, but apparently, that choice didn’t come without consequence.
Beauty is Pain.
Lisa LaFlamme, a Canadian news reporter for CTV news, was one of the many women who made the decision to loosen up a little and stop dying their hair. She felt so free by her decision that she even highlighted the change in appearance on one of her news segments. As reported by The Globe and Mail, she stated “I finally said, ‘Why bother? I’m going gray. Honestly, if I had known the lockdown could be so liberating on that front I would have done it a lot sooner.” Unfortunately, along with her new-found freedom eventually came freedom from her job as well. The reason she was reportedly let go, has caused outrage among viewers and women everywhere.
No Good Deed Goes Unpunished.
Lisa had been a loyal employee of CTV, as both a chief news anchor and senior editor for 35 years. She dedicated herself and her career to keeping people informed on current events. Despite being commended by many viewers for her desire to break free of ageist and sexist expectations put on women, CTV reportedly couldn’t get past their own superficial expectations.
On August 15th, 2022, Lisa was let go from her job, according to sources, due to her graying hair. LaFlamme posted a video on Twitter in response to the harsh treatment she received. In the video, which now has more than 4.6 million views, LaFlamme states that she was “blindsided” by the network’s decision to let her go.
Not surprisingly, the president and CEO of BCE and Bell Canada, the head company for CTV News, denied that their decision to let Lisa go, had anything to do with her appearance, age, or gender.
I have some news… pic.twitter.com/lTe3Rs0kOA— Lisa LaFlamme (@LisaLaFlamme_) August 15, 2022
While there are intensely important matters happening all around us, like climate change or the war in Ukraine, many people would argue the relevance or importance of celebrities. No matter what your personal opinion of them may be, it is clear that they do have a major influence on things like fashion and other trends. Because of this influence, several celebrities who’ve also chosen to stop dying their hair and are going gray have made headlines and magazine covers. Although there is a lot they could be doing with their popularity, advocating for women to feel comfortable and confident in their natural state seems like a pretty good cause.
Corporations Fighting Back.
Several other large companies have chosen to show their support to Lisa and aging women everywhere. Wendy’s in Canada posted an image to its Twitter account, the image shows Wendy with gray hair rather than her signature red hair. Another large company showing its support is Canadian Dove. They released a new logo, with gray as opposed to their traditional gold-colored logo, and have encouraged their customers and followers to change their profile pictures to black and white.
Although Dove does have products for men, they’ve built their reputation on empowering women to be confident in who they are, so they’ve added another element to back the benefit of women. They plan to donate $100,000 to a non-profit organization that helps to build workplaces that embrace women, known as Catalyst.
How a Pandemic Inadvertently Encouraged Carefree Living.
Although there were many casualties and downsides to the pandemic, it did have one small silver lining. It gave many people the chance to take a hard long look at themselves and what they prioritize or value. After facing such worldwide uncertainty and being on lockdown for so long, people began to reevaluate the things that are important in life. One of the things that women reevaluated was their appearance and found it to be less important than their own comfort and sanity.
Because so much of our lives are spent in front of a mirror, bleaching, waxing, dyeing gray hair, dressing up, doing make up etc. we have very little free time. Balancing the chaos of working, running households, and trying to stay sane coupled with beauty standards, women have chosen to reconsider how they spend their time. Many have decided to boycott wasting precious hours of the day on something that now seems so trivial, such as appearance.
Women are feeling empowered and have chosen to break the stereotypes and pressures put upon them by society. In writing about this issue, I’m reminded of another debate that took place in the last few years. Black women were fighting for their right to have their hair styled in a way that honors their culture and heritage.
There was some debate about how “unkempt” or “unprofessional” it made them appear. In the same way that was an issue of human rights, so is this simple matter of having gray vs. dyed hair. Given the laws that have been put into place for equal employment opportunities, there’s no employment status that should be determined by age, gender, or appearance. Regardless of your political, religious, or personal beliefs we as people owe it to one another to fight for, if nothing else, having the freedom to make their one’s own choices when it comes to their bodies, or appearance.
More importantly, as long as hygiene is good, appearance should have no impact on one’s ability to make an income in order to live.
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- “A News Anchor Was Reportedly Fired for Having Gray Hair, and People Are Upset.” Shape. Retrieved September 9, 2022.
- “Lisa LaFlamme ‘going grey’ questioned by CTV executive, says senior company official” The Globe and Mail. August 18, 2022.
- “Lisa LaFlamme Departs CTV News” Bell Media. August 15. 2022.