When trolls took it upon themselves to call Carol Vorderman “mutton dressed as lamb” because she wore a dress which sat above the knee, she had a few things to say.
All hail Carol Vorderman.
The much-loved TV presenter has carved her own path when it comes to her career (she famously studied at Cambridge and worked in power stations before working in entertainment), and many of us grew up watching her crunch numbers on Channel 4’s Countdown.
She’s been nothing but a true gem to watch throughout her career on television, but as a woman in the spotlight, she hasn’t walked away unscathed when it comes to trolls hitting back at her appearance.
Just recently, Vorderman was on the receiving end of sexist comments on Twitter after she showed off a new haircut, with some people seeing the full-body portrait shots as an opportunity to make comments on everything but her new hairstyle.
And now, Vorderman has spoken out about ageist remarks she received almost 20 years ago, when she wore a dress which sat above the knee.
Speaking on today’s This Morning, Vorderman shared her experience with ageism in response to a new survey by SunLife life insurance which revealed a third of British people have admitted to making an ageist comment at some time.
Asked whether she had experienced ageism throughout her career, Vorderman responded: “Most of my life, let’s be fair. Twenty years ago, I wore a blue dress to the BAFTAs which was above the knee, I was 39.
“That became a massive story, programmes were made about it,” she continued. “Not about the dress - it was about whether a woman aged 39 should wear a dress above the knee. I was called mutton dressed as lamb - would you call a 39-year-old that today because she wears a dress above the knee? Of course you wouldn’t, that’s nonsense.”
She then went on to tackle the issue of ageist remarks generally, saying they “belong to the last Century,” and that they won’t change the way she thinks about herself and the way she dresses.
“I get it all the time and has my attitude changed whatsoever? No! And is it going to change? No!” she explained. “What is ‘age appropriate’? Surely it’s about the spirit of somebody.”
It’s not just Vorderman who’s spoken out against ageist trolls recently. Just last week, Bebe Rexha revealed she had received comments from a male music executive which suggested she was “too old to be sexy”. At 29.
The singer went on to call out the ageism which is rife in the music industry, highlighting how women are labelled as “hags” as they age compared to men, who are labelled as sexy for looking older.
And Tess Daly has also spoken out about ageist sexism in the entertainment industry, rejecting statistics which indicate only 18% of the over 50s TV presenters in the UK are women.
“It’s sad that in this day and age women are still judged on their age,” she said. “Men don’t have to defend their right to still be working in their 40s or 50s.”