EastEnders actress Samantha Womack has suggested being a woman in showbiz can be a struggle. Her comments came days before BBC presenter David Dimbleby urged broadcasters to drop their prejudice against older women as its often a waste of talent.
The 40-year-old actress suggested that older actresses have to maintain a certain standard and look to continue to gain work.
“There is still a huge amount of pressure on women to look good and have it all.” Womack told The Mirror on Sunday, adding, “[Attitudes are] changing, but very slowly,”
“You’re supposed to be a perfect mother, have a career, and look a million dollars all the time. It’s just not realistic and it sets you up for a fall when you don’t do everything perfectly. When I was younger I cared so much about what other people thought of me and how I looked.”
Today Question Time presenter David Dimbleby hit out at broadcasters who ditch female personalities for being ‘too old’. The 74-year-old told the Radio Times magazine:
“There is a section among television executives who are always being hammered – quite wrongly in my view – to get the biggest possible audience, and attractive young women [they believe] will bring in a bigger audience than less attractive, older women – to say nothing of less attractive older men, like me,” Dimbleby said.
He added, “That’s the way the TV, not just the BBC, industry works. And I think it’s wrong. If you look at American TV you’ll find it keeps women at work. It’s just a cultural shift that’s needed…. And I agree that it is demeaning to women and I also think it’s a crazy loss of talent.”
News channels in the UK have hired ‘older’ female anchors in the past decade with Julia Somerville, Angela Rippon and the late Carol Barnes being hired by such outlets.