Being a new mom is difficult. Your days are filled with a blur of bottles, diaper changes and little-to-no sleep. So, imagine the strength it takes for a woman to leave their newborn baby to head back to work. Then, imagine being put under a microscope for any and everyone to judge. That’s the reality for Carrie Duncan, a meteorologist in Mississippi. But, instead of a warm welcome just months after giving birth, she was faced with a verbal attack of words. Rather than sulk over this online bully, Carrie took the high road, showing the world that actions speak louder than words.
As a fellow television journalist, I’m used to the criticism. I’ve been called fat, ugly, atrocious; I’ve even been told to fix my voice and teeth. It comes with the territory. Viewers often feel like they know us and connect with us because we appear on the television in their living room nearly everyday. But in recent years, the kind words have been contaminated with a spew of negativity, and Carrie Duncan shared the worst viewer email I’ve ever witnessed. In addition to telling her she had a “horrid gut and huge arms,” the viewer criticized her hair, clothing attire and told her that she’s “an embarrassment” to herself and all of the viewers. Excuse me?!?! I had to pick my jaw up from the ground after reading this note. I’ve experienced my fair share of hatred, but this takes online bullying to a new level.
I could spend hours nitpicking this email, but much like Meteorologist Carrie Duncan did in response to the hater, I will take the high road. As a fellow journalist, I’m saddened by this email. After writing many articles and Facebook posts fighting back against “fat-shaming,” it’s disheartening to know that this is running rampant across the internet. I would hope that viewers watch us to get the latest news or to find out what the weather will be like for the day, not to judge the on-air talent for their choice in clothing, or their hair, or their body figure. Sure, the pound of make up is a requirement because of the bright lighting, but I am the same person presenting the news whether I’m 125 lbs or 175 lbs.
As a mom, this email breaks my heart. My young daughter is beginning to understand more of the world around her, and the last thing that I want her to ever experience is the cattiness and hatred that is infecting so much of our society. These days, it’s so easy for people to hide behind a computer. What makes my blood boil even more than the spew of negativity is that this email was written by a woman. What happened to ladies lifting each other up, not tearing each other down? This fat-shaming has to stop! And to attack a woman who gave birth just months ago? Heck, I’m still trying to lose the “baby weight” from when I delivered my triplets four years ago! It’s time that we start looking at our inner beauty, it’s far more important than the exterior.
As I glanced through some of the comments from Carrie’s post, my anger and frustration softened. You need a hard shell to survive in our industry, and as I often remind myself–for every one negative note, there are hundreds of positive ones. In Carrie’s case, she has gained thousands of new fans eager to show their support. It’s a beautiful symbol of how much good is in this world. So, as I un-clip my microphone and chisel off the pound of TV make up, I’m giving you, Carrie, a standing ovation. Thank you for taking a stand against the haters. Your grace and poise has proved to be much stronger than the words thrown at you.