From the words of Anchorman’s, Champ Kind, “… Its anchorman! Not anchor lady!” In the newsroom, men have predominately reported the news, hence the word anchorman. In the past few decades woman have made a bold statement in the media, unfortunately with such actions comes stereotypical behavior. Women have been dressed up in outfits that expose their feminine features, and have to maintain a figure that is very appealing to the eye. This stereotype does not only affect women in the news atmosphere. Men have to deal with the stereotype of looking well informed and aged. Due to age, both men and women have difficulties obtaining jobs in the news. With an audience that is very susceptible to gender stereotypes, the news stations are forced to have their employees fall under the stereotype of a mature, well informed and appealing to the audience news anchor ( Sonnert 65). With that stereotypes are exposed to an audience. News stations then follow the trend, thus why most news anchors look the same. In the news, gender stereotypes are exposed through age, physical appearance, and clothing.
Around twenty- five years ago, females made up a mere 13% of employment in the news workforce. In the U.S. today, half of news reporters and anchors are female. Pamela Creedon, author of the novel, The Edge of Change, talks about the dramatic increase of women in a once predominately male work place. She states that this is one of the results of the “gender switch”.


This so called gender switch originated in the mid-1970s when more females enrolled in college journalism and mass communication courses than males (Ferri and Keller 64). Women were figuring out that they could obtain most, if not all, the predominately male jobs. This is just another example of how far women have come in the past forty years. Whether it was gaining the right to vote or equality in the workforce, they have succeeded in making a statement in society. This was the beginning of a boom of female news anchors.
With this gender switch, women are becoming more like men in the workforce. They are attaining jobs that used to be predominately males. Movies such as Anchorman have even acknowledged the progress females have made. The movie portrayed how a woman replaced the original male anchor in the newsroom. Now that women are being treated equal in society, they are gaining many stereotypes. Local news stations across the U.S. are hiring young females for the anchor position. With that comes the stereotype of being visually appealing to the viewers. The news stations are hiring young, pretty women and dress them in ways that expose their natural or unnatural bodily features (Wiseman 485). This is where society has gained the stereotype that females should have a certain physical appearance in order for them to attain a news station occupation.
The government has had some input into the hiring of stereotypical anchors, under title VII of the civil rights act of 1964; gender discrimination in jobs like anchoring should be outlawed. If an employee of a news station was discriminated against, the employee can sue the company for discrimination. Unfortunately this title hasn’t been effective in discouraging discrimination (Buchman192-193). With the help of the government, women were even closer to gaining equality in the workforce. Especially the news since women had never been involved with it.
Men also have a disadvantage in the news. Age plays an enormous role with obtaining a job in the news workforce. Men of early ages are not as likely to get a job as news anchors. Sometimes they need to work in a radio station for a few years because their physical appearance is not up to par. In a radio station, men can practice speaking in front of a large audience without being on camera. On the other hand, women are more likely to get a job when they are young and are less likely to get a job as a news anchor as they get older. Men in their 30s have a better chance because it shows they are more mature and have gained more knowledge about the world around them. Males in their 20’s sometimes have to get jobs as radio announcers because they are not mature looking enough for the anchor position (Rakow 21).


The news stations would much rather have young or young looking women in their prime that are very appealing to the audience. If a man in his 20s was reporting the news, his elders would not take him as serious because compared to them he looks like a child. Patti Buchman stated the lack of women over the age of 40 that appear on camera is due to the fact that news stations did not start hiring women until the 1970s (Buchman 191). It is not so much that they are not qualified enough, it is more that women were new to the news workforce. Women that grew up after the 1970s started to consider the occupation of a news reporter because it was accepted by society now.


Before women working in the newsroom would be like a female professional football player. The news stations feel that a mature looking male shows knowledge and power on the television screen. Age can be both a burden and a gift for males and females. Some men could be lucky enough to look more mature at an early age and get the job as a new anchor. However some women could be unlucky to age more than others, as they get older, potentially losing their job. I have noticed in many news stations how local news use the younger anchors for smaller stories. I witnessed a story on local news NBC, a young female anchor reported on a Boulder police officer being assaulted and the tires slashed on his police cruiser. This is an important issue for the Boulder County, but this story would not be aired on national television. Where Katie Couric from NBC reports on issues around the world. She is middle aged but with her age comes with the knowledge of both the story and the issues surrounding it.
A famous quote derives from the movie Anchorman. Top news anchor, Ron Burgandy, glances upon the future anchor lady, Veronica Corningstone and says, “…Your hinny is breathtaking, I mean that thing is good…” This is just another way stereotypical females are perceived in the news place. Most of the Hollywood newscasts focus on having attractive anchors because they are reporting on models, athletes and movie stars. If stations such as E! News were anchored by people that were not as fortunate looking as others, they would not look professional because the bread and butter of those types of news stations are stereotypes. The news stations must hire people that fall under the stereotype they are reporting on. The movie stars are obviously perfectly done up when they go to a premiere or any function with paparazzi. Beauty standards and physical appearance of most women play an enormous role in our society. (Wood 24). Sanders, of the University of Illinois press states; women have had to cope with rough competition of appearances. Whether is their clothing or figure of their bodies, they have had to put themselves out there to be considered equal in the news workforce (Holland and Sanders 156). Women obviously are more affected by appearance. They have to worry about not being over weight and using all their natural features to their advantage. Males do not have to worry about their physical appearance as much as women do. A man could be plenty over weight and have some late night comedy shows make fun of him, but it would not affect his job title. Male anchors are more worried about acting strong and powerful in front of all the audience. I feel the stereotype of men being very masculine and powerful helped develop this stereotype for male news anchors. Society wants to hear the news from a male that looks very powerful and has a voice that articulates well.
Joanne Balt an author of the article, Proving Appearance- Related Sex Discrimination in Television News: A Disparate Impact Theory states, “ A double standard exists in television news. Although both male and female anchorpersons must meet substantial image requirements, anchorwomen are generally forced to conform to a much narrower and more demanding ideal of youth and beauty" (Balt 211). Balt is stating how there are two different standards and stereotypes in television news. The standard that women have to uphold is a lot different and more difficult than men because women have to worry about their appearances much more than men. It is amazing how people have come up with such stereotypes of how you dress. By just wearing a blue suit, any anchor could look professional.


A person could be a total dunce and not know anything about news anchoring or even about the world around us, but they would look like they did and many people think that if the media says it or displays it, then its always true. The way that the media exposes women in both commercials and as news anchors has affected the way women are perceived. Instead of just hiring the most talented person for the job. Women have to worry about fitting themselves into the stereotypical category that is most appealing by the media and the audience (Stone 53). In my high school, I was involved in a student broadcasting class. When the time came to choose the two news anchors, we did not have to face the problem of appearance. The participants in the tryout were judged on their talent base. Such talents as voice projection and hand motions.
Primarily women have been known to wear makeup. Whereas for men, not so much. An article titled “Television Anchor Makeup” stated if men are too ashamed or not used to wearing makeup they need to deal with it fast. Makeup plays an enormous role for both men and women (Television News Anchor 5). Men have the stereotype of being very masculine and not wearing makeup. The news has started a new stereotype by provoking men to wear makeup on camera. During my experience at a news station, the lead afternoon news anchor of CBS 8 news Dan Cohen gave my broadcasting class a tour and told us all the inside details of being a news anchor. He stated how he could not be ashamed of wearing make up because with all the lights in the newsroom, glares on ones face can become very bright, which attracts the attention of the viewer in a negative way. He also explained how suits worn must have plain colors without extreme patterns and not too provocative because the main goal on camera is to look professional. Viewers tend to become distracted with wardrobe malfunctions and focus on their appearance more than what they are actually saying (Cohen).


Before my research, I had no clue on how big of an impact the wardrobe and makeup have on an anchors appearance. With the stereotype of men not wearing makeup and the assumption if they do wear make up they are metro or homosexual, news stations are going against the stereotype and forming a new one by showing how men can wear makeup to enhance their natural colors and fight the glares.
With the specific stereotypes news anchors have to cope with, it has been shown that it can be difficult to uphold to the certain standards. The standards of being young, appealing to the audience, and wearing the clothes that make them look the most professional are their main targets. With these stereotypical standards, anchors have to deal with wearing makeup or having to work at a radio station because they do not look mature enough. Most women over the age of forty are not seen due to the fact that women did not enter the news place until the 1970s. It has been shown the anchors working for news station have to deal with a lot of aspects in order to obtain the job. These stereotypes are exposed to the viewer in a very acute way. The news stations know what stereotypes their audiences hold and they use it to their fullest advantage.
Anchors Works Cited
By: Thomas M.