A TV news anchor in the US is speaking out after receiving a body-shaming comment from a “complete stranger” who told her, "You look mighty big on TV!"
Nina Harrelson of Memphis TV station WREG, took to social media on Sunday to call out critics who share their unsolicited opinions about women’s bodies.
“FYI — journalists are not models,” the weekend anchor and reporter wrote. “And I can assure you, none of us want to hear your opinions on our bodies.
“WE ARE NOT YOUR EYE CANDY.
“Luckily, after nearly nine years in this business, I have a very thick skin,” she continued. “But I feel sorry for the young women breaking into news who will have to deal with that kind of criticism, which their male colleagues will almost certainly never face.”
According to a follow-up comment on Facebook, the remark about her size was made in person by a man — whom she promptly told off.
“The sad thing is, this guy said this to my face and was completely shocked when I told him that's insulting and not an acceptable thing to say to anyone,” Harrelson wrote, adding that the man “kind of nervously laughed and apologised.”
Harrelson tells Yahoo Lifestyle that she’s been subject to similar remarks in the past.
“As any woman working in TV will tell you, that comment was nothing compared to some of the nasty things people say,” she says.
“I’ve been in this business for nearly nine years, so I’ve had my fair share of body-shamers. They typically hide behind their keyboards with their fake accounts and photos, but this guy took it upon himself to share his opinion on my body to my face — as if I should be flattered that he thinks I look skinnier in person. The sad thing is, I truly believe he thought he was giving me a compliment.”
Her job as a news anchor in the public eye adds an extra level of pressure, one that male peers are rarely forced to deal with.
“I realise that I work in an industry where my appearance will be scrutinised, and yes, I am expected to look polished and put together on air,” she says. “But I refuse to conform to this idea that every news anchor should be a size 0, and that just because I’m in the public eye, people get a free pass to say whatever they want. Never mind the fact my male colleagues rarely, if ever, face this type of criticism.
But body shamers aren’t keeping her down.
“I like my body and so does my fiancé,” she says. “People should focus on how I do my job — not my dress size.”
Support from fans
Meanwhile, her fans aren’t keeping quiet when it comes to voicing their support in the wake of “loser trolls.”
“He needs glasses Nina ‘cause that’s not what we see!!! You are BEAUTIFUL inside and out!!” read one comment.
“I’m so sorry!” another fan wrote. “How very rude and inconsiderate! I’m glad you understand your worth! I’ve always thought you were beautiful! You’re also very talented.”
“I got your back. I got your front. A couple of idiots. You will always get that. Stay safe. And f*** off to whoever said that. Come for me!” added a supporter.
“Nina, you are great at what you do!” a viewer wrote. “I enjoy your newscasts because you report the news in a very unbiased, understandable, articulate fashion. You are a professional. That is why I watch your newscasts. Just so happens, you are also beautiful! People do not think about what they say and how they say it. They don’t realize how harmful and painful words can be. We’ve all faced that. You make many people happy with the way you do your job. Thanks for being the great newscaster that you are.”
Harrelson isn’t the first female TV news personality to speak out about being shamed by viewers. This summer a pregnant meteorologist in Ohio responded to complaints that she’d put on weight, while another woman in Georgia fired back at negative feedback over her on-air wardrobe.
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