I could stand to add some muscle. I occasionally wear bad ties. My beard grows fast enough to peek through my makeup some days. My hairline is doing a slow moonwalk up my scalp -- a classic sign of male-pattern baldness.
How many emails have I received about these issues over the past decade and a half? Maybe one. That's it. And just this morning, the Wall Street Journal
informed me that if I do ever go bald, it will only enhance my credibility! Seriously. it's a sign of power, apparently.
Now consider what my female colleagues endure. Vile emails about their hair. Bizarrely vitriolic voicemails about their weight. Their clothes. Their delivery on the air.
Can you possibly imagine a female equivalent to the Journal's "Bald is Awesome!" story?
This is not only about weight. Female anchors take flak for being overweight, yes. But they also hear it for being too thin. I've seen an email to a female colleague that read, "I want an educated news anchor, not an uneducated barbie doll." I won't reveal who this email went to, but I can tell you that this woman is one of the smartest people I know. She just happens to be attractive, which is offensive to some people.
There is simply no way that most of what is sent via email would be said in person, face-to-face. People can be cowards, and the internet unfortunately allows the opportunity to hide and throw bombs. We'll all be better off when we stop tolerating anonymous trolling. How pathetic.
To me, the Jennifer Livingston video ought to be more than a wake-up call about bullying. Livingston is a news anchor in Wisconsin whose on-air response to a viewer went viral. (If you've somehow missed it, click here
.) She called the email a form of "bullying." Some have disagreed, saying the email was merely an aggressive form of feedback. I don't want to get into bullying in this space, but I wholeheartedly agree with Livingston on this point: a rude email is designed to inflict emotional harm, not effect positive change. Is obesity a problem in this country? Absolutely. Do we know a thing about how Jennifer Livingston leads her life and handles her personal health? Absolutely not, and judging her (the viewer said that Livingston has chosen to be obese) is deeply unfair.