Richard Madeley has been heavily criticised by Good Morning Britain viewers for making a “pervy comment” about Lucy Verasamy’s outfit.
Lucy Verasamy has an illustrious career as a weather presenter: for four years, she worked at the Press Association’s weather centre, writing forecasts for newspapers and scripts for radio.
She later went on to work on the Sky News breakfast show, Sunrise, where she also penned a column entitled Climate Clinic – Ask Lucy as part of the Green Britain campaign. And, since 2012, she has fronted the national weather forecasts for ITV, regularly stepping in to provide ‘relief’ cover on their popular show Good Morning Britain, too.
However, it seems that Richard Madeley (who is covering for Piers Morgan on GMB) believes that the contents of Verasamy’s wardrobe are far more interesting than the contents of her mind.
On the 28 March, Madeley kicked off the show by complimenting Verasamy on her denim outfit, before comparing her to Dolly Parton.
Later on in the episode, he brought up the weather presenter’s outfit for a second time, telling her: “We’re still getting messages about that outfit. You’ll be rocking it for the next month.”
Verasamy smiled politely, before suggesting that the denim dress may have been a bad choice for the day “because it’s raining”.
“I might not wear it again,” she said. “I’m a bit worried it’s going to shrink in the rain, which was not the greatest move for the weather today.”
Madeley replied: “I think you should get outside at once and test it out.”
Madeley’s comments, which were made just minutes before he and Reid announced a feature on the #MeToo movement, prompted a backlash on social media.
Others, though, defended Madeley, saying that he was “only joking” and people were taking his comments “far too seriously”.
No matter where you stand in this argument, it is worth noting that this sort of judgement and criticism is primarily reserved for women, and it will always be there. Nobody ever looks at Madeley and remarks on his outfit – in fact, in 2014, a male TV presenter wore the same suit every day for a year to see if anybody would notice.
Spoilers: they did not.
From dressing for the day’s schedule, to adhering to sexist and archaic dress codes (remember when Nicola Thorp was sent home from work without pay for refusing to wear high heels?), women are forced to make daily decisions that would never cross their male colleagues’ minds.
And, much like the tampon tax (which sees women hit with a 5% tax on essential sanitary products, such as tampons, panty liners and pads), when it comes to something as simple as getting ready to go into the office, working women are unfairly disadvantaged.
It goes without saying that, by reducing a woman’s worth down to her appearance, we slyly diminish her role and her value as a contributor to society. People care far too much about how things look, rather than looking at how things are.
It can only be a positive sign, then, that so many felt the need to speak out against Madeley’s comments. Whether he was joking or not, it shows that attitudes are changing – and that more and more people are prepared to call #timesup on sexism in the workplace.