A pregnant local news anchor who is usually what she calls “thick skinned” decided to take a critic to task this week after being told that her slowly growing body is starting to look “disgusting” on TV.
“Yesterday was a bad work day. I checked my voicemail (hoping it was a great story tip…) No such luck,” WRWD anchor Laura Warren, of Augusta, Georgia, wrote in a July 4th post on her personal blog, Bump, Baby, and Breaking News. “Instead, I heard this peach of a woman on the other end.”
Here’s what that woman decided to say in her message:
“Please go to Target and buy some decent maternity clothes so you don’t walk around looking like you got a watermelon strapped under your too-tight outfits. Target’s got a great line of maternity clothes, in case you’ve never heard of such a thing. You’re getting to where you’re being disgusting on the TV.”
So, Warren continued in her blog post, “the thick skinned journalist in me who knows better than to give comments like this a second thought says, delete the voicemail and move on. Unfortunately,” she adds, “I’m pregnant, hormonal, currently not allowed to drink wine, and feeling extra in touch with my feminist side.”
She continued to share her reaction, including the immediate “stream of consciousness” she went through: “Did she just call a pregnant person disgusting? What kind of… I am only at week 20 of this? Am I going to have to deal with this crap another 20 weeks? … Is that a WOMAN who called me?!? Is she a MOTHER?!?!? The freaking nerve… Do I really look disgusting? What outfit is she talking about? Why did she call on Friday, I wasn’t even working Friday… Did she boil over this all week and wait until I was off to leave me a voicemail? Oh crap, am I tearing up at my desk? NOT here. And, NOT over this. This lady doesn’t deserve to get a rise out of me.”
Warren, 27, then admits to having pored over recent footage of herself on the air, wondering which angles of her could have so offended the critical woman.
Still, she noted, “I consider myself a confident, pretty secure, independent, woman. Why was I letting this one ridiculous, negative comment ruin my whole day? I’ve gotten dozens of compliments from viewers saying nice things about my pregnancy, why was this the one that stuck? I don’t really have an answer. If I did, I could probably solve the world’s bullying problem.”
Warren’s baby, due Nov. 19, will be her first, she tells Yahoo Beauty, noting, “but we actually had a miscarriage at 18 weeks last October… So, this is our rainbow baby, and we are so thrilled!”
She shared her blog post on Facebook, where it’s gotten more than 1,000 reactions, 370 shares, and 775 comments, most of them supportive and empathetic, with fans calling her “gorgeous” and “marvelous.”
Speaking with Yahoo Beauty, though, the reporter adds that maintaining a thick skin in such a scrutinized, public position is “probably the part of this job I struggle with the most.”
She goes on:
“Some say, don’t take it so personally, but it’s my career. It’s my passion. It’s my blood sweat and tears. And, often, it’s my body or my appearance people are commenting on. So, for me, especially as a woman, I often DO take it personally. I’m human, too, and I think sometimes people see on air personalities every day and forget that we have lives outside of this job. We have families and we have feelings, too. I don’t think anyone would appreciate being called ‘disgusting.’ I don’t think we are exempt from human reactions just because we are journalists. At the end of the day, I know I’m never going to please everyone. So, I just try to treat everyone the way I want to be treated, and do my job with integrity to the best of my ability. And, at the end of the day, if someone STILL has a problem with me, then at least I know I’ve done everything I can.”
Warren, unfortunately, is not the first woman and TV news personality to get criticized for her appearance. In fact, a Philadelphia meteorologist was also called “disgusting” as she worked on television throughout her pregnancy with twins, eventually speaking out about the relentless bullying through a 2015 Facebook post.
“The nature of my job makes me an easy target for criticism. I will always understand that, and I will most typically just ignore it,” Katie Fehlinger wrote at the time. “However, after someone blatantly called me a ‘sausage in casing’ and another declared that ‘sticking your pregnant abdomen out like that is disgusting,’ I felt a need to draw a line and speak up.”
Other anchors have spoken out about getting raked over the coals for sundry other visual offenses: wearing revealing wardrobes, slathering on too much makeup, repeating outfits, and gaining “too much weight.”
Ginger Zee of Good Morning America has also spoken out about this less-than-welcome phenomenon, particularly when she began getting trolled for her parenting choices.
“People can say whatever they want about me. They can call me ugly. But don’t talk about my child,” Zee told People. “Parents just want their baby to be happy and healthy, and we’re giving every ounce of ourselves to do that.”
As for Warren, her public response to the body bully was guided, in part, by her soon-to-be-role as mom.
“How do we teach our kids to be kind when adults all around them can say such cruel things? It worries me,” she wrote on her blog. “Right now, I can protect this sweet little boy. But, I won’t always be able to. I certainly don’t want him to dwell on the negative things insecure people are bound to say about him.
“So, I think instead of letting this lady get me down, I’m just going to turn her negative energy into positive energy. I’m going to say as many nice things as I can to as many people as I can, and I’m going to do it in a dress that fits these beautiful new curves with my ‘watermelon’ stomach showing.”
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