Another day, another unsuspecting woman caught in the center of a body-shaming sh*tstorm.
Liberté Chan is a meteorologist for KTLA. On Saturday morning, she was asked to put on a cardigan over her dress while doing her segment. Her co-worker handed it to her from off-camera saying, “We’re getting a lot of emails.” She didn't respond by high kicking him in the throat, though it was awkward as hell when she put it on. At the time, she hadn’t seen any of those emails about her attire, a black beaded dress. In a blog post on Sunday, Chan wrote that she was playing along when she accepted the cardigan, unaware that a Twitter storm was brewing.
She did unhappily comment that she looked like a librarian, but it seemed like it everyone else was far more offended on her behalf.
Later, she and her co-workers recorded themselves reviewing some of the criticism of Chan's dress. They seem baffled and amused by the many viewers who wrote in to say that Chan looked like she was wearing her party outfit from the night before. You know who says that kind of stuff? People who don't get invited to parties. The video also hilariously revealed that her co-anchors are in their socks and wearing shorts. If you've always suspected that newscasters don't wear pants under their desks, you were right.
Even more people complained about how Chan was treated than about the original dress, despite her sense of humor about the situation. She writes:
"For the record, I was not ordered by KTLA to put on the sweater. I was simply playing along with my co-anchor’s joke, and if you’ve ever watched the morning show, you know we poke fun at each other all the time.
"And, also for the record, there is no controversy at KTLA. My bosses did not order me to put on the cardigan, it was a spontaneous moment.. I truly love my job, I like my bosses and enjoy working with my coworkers. Since talking to my team, I want our viewers to know it was never our intention to offend anyone. We are friends on and off the air and if you watch our newscast, you know that."
She adds that the beaded dress was a loaner, and a back up to a different black and white dress that appeared semi-transparent against the greenscreen. What do you people want from her?
While Chan has a healthy perspective on #sweatergate, saying, "I’ve worked on-air for 10 years and by now, I’ve learned that everyone has an opinion and you have to have a thick skin to work in this business," she also shared a number of tweets from her viewers. Perhaps that's an easy way to communicate frustrations about a situation that you can't directly express, for example these observations:
After many years of working in media, Chan has the hard won ability to laugh about the way women are asked to regulate their bodies. At one point, she somewhat sadly asked if any of the emails included comments on her actual work as a meteorologist. Big, unfortunate nope.
Women's looks still seem to be of more interest to the public than their job performance. Chan deserves better, and even if she's cool with her co-anchors, I hope they ignore any future wardrobe malfunctions until the cameras turn off.