This Pregnant Reporter Clapped Back At A Body Shamer

by Lara Rutherford-Morrison

Woe betide the female reporter who dares to be pregnant on TV. Whether she’s delivering the weather or the news, she’ll inevitably be the target of body shaming. Thankfully, many of these women know how to respond in style. Take this pregnant reporter’s reaction to a viewer calling her “disgusting”: She calls out the hater, refuses to be cowed, and vows to look for the positive.

Laura Warren is a news anchor at station WRDW in Augusta, Georgia. She’s also 20 weeks pregnant. On July 4, she took to her blog, “Bump, Baby, and Breaking News,” to talk about the pressure she feels being pregnant in the public eye. “Being pregnant is already one of the most emotional, insecure times of your life. Am I gaining too much weight? Am I gaining enough weight? Is my bump too high? Is my bump too low?” she wrote. “…Now, throw yourself in front of a camera that adds 20 pounds every night, find clothes that not only fit, but also don't make you look like a whale, and cake on enough hair and makeup products twice a day to moonlight as a Las Vegas showgirl, and you'll understand where I'm coming from.” Oof.

That feeling of insecurity certainly wasn’t helped when she came to work recently, only to be greeted by a nasty email from a viewer. It’s a doozy:

The unnamed woman said,

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.

Wow. Whenever I see stories like this, one of my first thoughts is always, “Who has the time to contact random strangers to say you don’t like what they look like?” Also, WHY?

Warren said that the “thick skinned journalist” in her knows to leave these types of comments alone. “Unfortunately,” she wrote, “I'm pregnant, hormonal, currently not allowed to drink wine, and feeling extra in touch with my feminist side.”

She recorded the thoughts that went through her mind after hearing the voicemail, an alternating catalogue of insecurity, anger, and bafflement that will feel familiar to anyone who has been blindsided by hateful comments. She wrote,

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. Does she know that I'm wearing maternity clothes? What does she want me to wear, a moo moo from the 50's? Does she know this is 2017? WHY DID SHE CALL ME?! And, why can I not stop thinking about this?!

In her blog post, Warren pointed out an issue that is true for a lot of us: It’s way easier to obsess over one negative comment than it is to believe lots of positive ones. “I consider myself a confident, pretty secure, independent, woman,” she wrote. “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?”

She wrote that if she knew the answer to that question, she “could probably solve the world's bullying problem” — a problem that’s all too prevalent in our current culture.

Despite her initial feelings, Warren vowed not to dwell on the viewer’s cruel comments. “I'm just going to turn her negative energy into positive energy,” she wrote. That means setting a good example: “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.” The best way to clap back at mean people is to refuse to internalize their negativity and instead be a force for good. And if that anonymous viewer simply can’t stand seeing a (gasp!) pregnant woman on TV, she has the ability to change the channel.