When Laura Warren checked her voicemail earlier this month, she was hoping for a great story tip. Instead, the Georgia WRDW news anchor listened to a woman berate her for the way she looked on TV.
"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 said. "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."
Whoa, whoa, whoa. Since when was being pregnant—a beautiful journey of nurturing and growing life—"disgusting"? And does she think "maternity clothes" consist of only loose, baggy clothing? (Also Target carries many form-fitting maternity dresses, skirts, tops and swimsuits ... so, we're kind of getting mixed messages here, lady).
Warren had received comments from strangers about her appearance before and she had seen many of her friends and colleagues receive rough criticism as well. But this one in particular really bothered 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? Are these breakouts ever going to end? Is this pregnancy making my hair dull? Why are my nail beds doing this weird thing?" she wrote on her blog. "Now, 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."
The mom, who's on her second trimester, was so affected, she went through her station's archives and laid out all her outfits in her blog post. She couldn't understand what was so offensive.
And here's why body shaming can be so destructive. A stranger's words ended up making Warren, a self-described confident and independent woman, feel insecure and question everything about herself, from how she stands to where she places her hands. While she has received many compliments, she couldn't help but focus on this one critique.
"Part of the reason I wrote that blog is to get a discussion going about how easy it is for us all to hang on and dwell on that one negative comment, instead of a whole sea of positive ones," Warren told ABC.
Just interviewed with @insideedition about my blog post. You can catch the interview on air tonight!
But the mom isn't going to let the body-shaming experience dictate her wardrobe.
"Instead of letting this lady get me down, I'm just going to turn her negative energy into positive energy," she wrote. "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 with my 'watermelon' stomach showing."