Nina Harrelson wants people to know that reporters aren't "eye candy" for their viewers.

By Faith Brar
November 05, 2019
Credit: Nina Harrelson/Facebook

Body-shaming is clearly both misguided and harmful. Yet judgmental, unsolicited comments about others' bodies continue to permeate the internet, social media, and even everyday real life. Take Nina Harrelson, for instance. She's a news anchor for WREG-TV in Memphis, Tennessee, who's speaking out after a man commented on her appearance while she was out reporting last week.

"You look mighty big on TV," the man said, according to a Twitter post shared by Harrelson earlier this week. "That's what a complete stranger said to me," she wrote.

Harrelson shared the same post on Facebook where, in a follow-up comment, she described the interaction in more detail: "The sad thing is, this guy said this to my face and was completely shocked when I told him that's insulting and not an acceptable thing to say to anyone," she wrote.

Harrelson's goal behind sharing this interaction was to clarify that "journalists are not models," she wrote. "And I can assure you, none of us want to hear your opinions on our bodies," she added. "We are not your eye candy."

In an interview with Today, Harrelson said she's dealt with unsolicited comments about her appearance multiple times since becoming a news anchor nine years ago. She said she even got a handwritten note from someone once, telling her she looked "like a man."

"And then that person sent a separate letter to the production staff telling them not to do close-ups of me because I'm so ugly," she continued telling Today.

In her social media posts, Harrelson said she's developed "thick skin" as a result of these body-shaming incidents. But she knows that younger women in the industry might not be prepared for how out-of-touch some people can be. "I feel sorry for the young women breaking into news who will have to deal with that kind of criticism, which their male colleagues will almost certainly never face," Harrelson wrote. (Related: Taylor Swift Is Tired of Seeing Sexist Double Standards Hold Women Back)

ICYDK, Harrelson isn't the first female news anchor to be shamed for her appearance. Just last month, Missouri-based meteorologist, Tracy Hinson called out a viewer who told her to cover her "stomach bulge." In 2017, Dallas-based traffic reporter, Demetria Obilor felt compelled to share a video about body kindness after she was repeatedly criticized for her curves.

Clearly, body-shaming trolls will come for just about anyone. Whether it's a TV news reporter, a body-positive activist wearing a swimsuit, or even a personal trainer simply doing their job, some people feel they have a right to comment on others' bodies—especially those in the public eye.

"People need to understand that we're not serving ourselves up on a silver platter for you to dissect every aspect of our body," Harrelson told Today. "We're here to present the news."


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