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Pregnant news anchor speaks after body-shaming viewer labels her 'disgusting'?

The Independent logo The Independent 14/07/2017 Beth Timmins

© Provided by Independent Print Limited Body shaming seems to have reached a new low after news anchor Laura Warren of WRDW-TV in Georgia, US received a call from a viewer saying her pregnancy bump made her look “disgusting.”

“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,” the viewer says in the recording Ms Warren uploaded on 4 July .

“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,” the viewer added.

Friday baby bump update #18weeks #BabyGrieb

A post shared by Laura Warren (@laurawarrennews) on

But rather than immediately deleting or ignoring the hurtful message, Ms Warren decided action was the best choice of response.

In a blog post entitled “Sticks and Stones” Ms Warren explained how the viewer’s comments had affected her.

“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?”

Ms Warren explained that these insecurities are even more salient when you’re a news anchor.

“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,” she wrote.

Despite being a “thick-skinned” journalist, the upsetting incident strongly affected Ms Warren, prompting her to recount which outfits she had worn that week.

Trying to understand the viewer, Ms Warren said the message had brought out her feminist side.

“Is that a WOMAN who called me?!? Is she a MOTHER?!?!? The freaking nerve...Do I really look disgusting?”

“I consider myself a confident, pretty secure, independent, woman. Why was I letting this one ridiculous, negative comment ruin my whole day?”

Ms Warren explained that comments such as this can stick despite the dozens of positive and congratulatory ones she had been receiving from viewers.

But the comments on her post echoed her positivity. An anonymous person wrote: “You are a BEAUTIFUL young lady! And the classy way that you handled this even shows that your beauty isn't skin deep. We appreciate your work and very soon that baby boy will too.”

“She’s just a stupid old woman that has nothing better to do than find fault in others to make herself feel better,” Rhetta Story wrote.

Ms Warren says the problem lies in bullying on a larger scale.

“Right now, we are living in a culture tolerating, often even encouraging bullies.

“Politicians, angry Democrats and Republicans, anonymous keyboard warriors, social media bullies....How do we teach our kids to be kind when adults all around them can say such cruel things?”

Ms Warren bravely posted in order to turn the viewer’s “negative energy into positive energy,” something multiplied by the supportive reactions.

“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,” said Ms Warren.

Related: Pregnancy customs around the world

A Tibetan mother, Mrs Pi, with her son at the Pi family home in Ni Shi village, Da Qing county, Yunnan. The area is part of the Tibetan Plateau which has been designated by the Chinese authorities as Shangrila and is being developed as a tourist mecca with a new airport and hotels catering for thousands of tourists, Yunnan Province, China 17 pregnancy customs around the world

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