A female news anchor is calling out a viewer who asked her to dress in less “revealing” clothing on television.
On Wednesday, Toya Washington, a TV anchor at WISN 12 News Team in Milwaukee, posted on Facebook about an anonymous letter she had received. The letter read in part, “Lately, your style of dress has become ‘more revealing’ and ‘less professional’ … and there’s no reason to wear what appeared to be a ‘camisole’ … to increase your ratings.”
After suggesting that Washington learn from her more modestly dressed peers, the letter writer clarified: “Our main objective when watching the news is to get the news, not to see the amount of ‘exposed skin’ a female anchor is showing. Quite possibly, you might be ‘feeling your age’ as an anchor, and think that ‘less dress is more.’”
But Washington took the unsolicited criticism in stride.
“This is laughable my friends,” Washington captioned the photo, which garnered hundreds of reactions and comments. “As far as ‘feeling my age’ …wow. Just. Wow. If ‘feeling my age’ is in reference to still being able to effectively slay at work and at home as a wife and mother, then yes…I feel star-spangled-banner good for ‘my age.’ For the record and ‘for my age’, I haven’t been this fit and in shape since high school. Which apparently was forever ago…”
She added, “I’ll continue to ‘keep up the good work’ regardless of your opinions. And no, I won’t be changing my style. Now I need to remember what I wore on 2/24…so I can wear it again.”
Female journalists often grapple with unrealistic expectations: They’re expected to look young, pretty and polished by society’s standards, but also to maintain the utmost professional decorum — logistically difficult for reporters on the field who have to navigate crime scenes and harsh weather conditions. Black women are also often expected to straighten their natural hair.
Yahoo Style was not able to obtain a comment from Washington, but her Facebook fans spoke up for her, calling the letter “poorly written” and “ridiculous” and praising Washington for being “classy.”
She isn’t the first journalist to be criticized for her appearance. In 2015, a pregnant Canadian meteorologist, Kristi Gordon, read out on live TV pieces of hate mail from viewers who said she was “gross” and “needed to buy some decent clothes.” The backlash inspired a wave of support for Gordon from pregnant women who posted photos of their baby bumps with the hashtag #KushinsForKristi.
Washington also isn’t the only journalist to ignore critics and stay true to herself. In February, WJTV News television anchor Brittany Noble-Jones showed off her natural hair on camera for the first time in eight years, in honor of Black History Month.
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