Can we be Gandhi… the Dilemma!
So we’ve been thinking… and we have to say that we’ve got a bit of a dilemma. People have said to us that we’re actually on a campaign to raise awareness of how women of a certain age are treated in media and society. Well, we do know this, which is why we wrote the book, but the words ‘leading a campaign’ filled us with slight horror – how could we step up to this – really we are just writing a book! But then we realised actually we have to step up but… how do we do it?
We don’t want to hit people over the head with a big stick (metaphorically speaking of course!). Having said that we realised we DO want to get the attention of the men and women who are in positions of power on who they employ on our screens etc., who have the position and influence, and who choose not to put women of a certain age on our screens. It’s not that we think you are bad people, not at all, but like all habits and conditioning we just do what we do, we follow our parent’s guidance, we copy our bosses, and maybe we have never stopped long enough to question, “is this correct?”, “is this okay?”, “maybe I need to re-think why I am not employing more women of a certain of age?”.
We know it’s a pause…. an enquiry… and a questioning, so we wonder: are you up for this challenge… and does this make us campaigners?
We don’t know how to deal with the campaigner title but having said that it took us a while to take on the mantle of being radio and TV presenters and get used to it – maybe that’s what it’s like when you step into a different world: “Does this cloak fit…?”. Well, it’s going to have to… after all the books coming out very soon!
So… back to The Dilemma – how be a campaigner? To get a clue we looked up the dictionary definitions of ‘Campaign’. Well… there’s the military campaign… hmmm, looks too warlike (obviously!), we don’t want to go down that route. The other type of Campaign is taking organised action towards a goal – fair enough – and then we thought it sounded rather boring and so how do you make enough fuss and have enough of an impact for real change to happen?
Can you do it with humour, focus, and persistence alone? Will that be enough for us to help change happen and get more women of a certain age out there so all women of that age have representation and can look at them and go “Oh my God, I exist!”; and so that young women can look at women of a certain age and say, “Okay I’m happy with ageing because I see older women and they look great.”
So we’re in a rock and a hard place at the moment and our attempt at taking on the mantle of campaigning might well be a softly softly approach with humour, stories, and journalism. Will it actually help achieve the goal of more women represented in media? Is that a proper campaign or is a campaign holding the (metaphorical) stick and being a militant person? Basically, the Dilemma is how can we make the point forcefully enough but in kind, compassionate, heartful, and funny ways… is there room to do that in an actual working-towards-changing-society Campaign?
Whew… just sharing the machinations that we go through endlessly in our quest to make a point that we can live with and talk about authentically.
Well, luckily, we’re not alone in this campaign, there are many other women – and some men – working towards the same goal, and this is how change happens, like an avalanche, first pebbles then stones, then more stones join in, then rocks get pulled along, and then the whole cliff collapses!
So what we’re doing with the book, and specifically with the individual exercises in the book, is encouraging individual women to find that strength within themselves – should they need it – to throw off the invisibility cloak, be seen and heard, and make a noise. Then you get the beginning of the avalanche.
Because here’s the thing (and we know it well), that what impacts editors in media is that they HAVE to respond to their audience – but only if their audience is loud enough. So here’s a thought (back to the campaign!) the audience WILL be loud enough once they know they are the victims of an injustice… which is that there’s an invisibility cloak that descends over women as they get older and devalues them and their talent, wisdom, and skills in society and makes them feel worthless and miserable… and it starts in media.
Women of a certain age do always know it’s there – despite it being invisible – because we feel it when we’ve been knocked, or pushed, or ignored, or… well there are lots of ways it manifests; after all, we all have that sensitivity, it’s just we don’t know how big and heavy it is till it makes us feel really bad – or we’ve lost our job!
So we’re saying that if enough women find their own empowerment and their voices get loud enough and there’s enough of us then we potentially might be able to change the minds of the editors in charge.
As a role model Mahatma Gandhi came to mind – he created revolution but in a peaceful way. Oh goodness, why did he have to come to mind? It’s hard enough taking on the mantle of campaigner, let alone this… oh well, we and you will have to watch this space and, no, we are not going to wear white robes… and we definitely have no plans to rule a country… but one thing we always try to do is learn from the greats.
Be great to hear what you think.