But here's what Livingston did not say: Women get this kind of stuff overwhelmingly more than men. I'm not only talking about on-air personalities, either. We're talking about girls at school. Women in the workplace. Even Hillary Clinton remarked that she'd love to wake up, throw on a suit, run a comb through her hair, and get right to work -- like many of her male counterparts do. But without two hours of makeup, we all know that the substance of her day would be replaced by, "She wasn't put together this morning! What gives?"
One of my colleagues in another city criticized Livingston on the grounds that all on-air personalities have to deal with this kind of negativity. Another said that Livingston took the job, so she should handle "respectful feedback" like this. (One even suggested that Livingston's rant was brilliant marketing, because hey, she was on the Today Show as a result!)
Baloney, on all counts. Men do indeed occasionally receive critical viewer emails, but trust me: It's not the same. It's a drop in the ocean of garbage that comes the way of my female colleagues. I've had female colleagues say that they can't do their job without first being judged, simply by how they look or what they're wearing. The quality of their work is secondary.
And this was not just "feedback" from a viewer. This was rude, personal, and carefully hiding in an email.
Enough. The next time you want to fire off an email, ask yourself if you'd say the same words in person. And the next time a man thinks a woman like Jennifer Livingston is just being dramatic, he should think about the many, many comments alongside the one made public. This one broke the dam. I can understand why.
-Evan Dawson, October, 2012