What Is Considered "Too Sexy"
For Local News?

What Is Considered "Too Sexy" For News?

Written by Lois Lane
🕒 April 26, 2021

If you’re a woman who works on-air in the news business, you’ve inevitably experienced the venomous judgement of viewers. 

Whether it’s an email criticizing your makeup, a phone call about your dress, or even a handwritten letter condemning your hair style, the opportunity for personal attacks is endless. So when is it best to tune out the critics, and when should we reassess our presentation? Well, the answer is complicated.

When traffic anchor Demetria Obilor joined a Texas new station, about four years ago, she was targeted by a viewer on Facebook. The criticism came from a woman who thought what Demetria had on was too sexy.

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Without hesitation, Demetria addressed the hurtful comments, and was immediately backed up by Chance the Rapper.

Then, her station stepped in with a very supportive segment addressing body shaming. In a one-on-one interview with her colleagues, Demetria spoke out again. She said that she wanted to take a stand on behalf of every young girl, and all the women, subjected to this kind of treatment.

A lot of people agree with Demetria. They argue that her curves are beyond her control, and she dresses herself to feel confident. Others have taken the side of the viewer, who even took it upon herself to estimate Demetria’s dress size.

When it comes to on-air attire, consider what gives you confidence, and makes you look professional, while not distracting from the story.

The “too sexy” issue is further complicated by every individual market. For example, Amarillo, TX is ultra-conservative compared to its counterpart, Dallas, where female anchors are encouraged to show cleavage.

If you’re reporting on serious matters, such as protests or COVID-19, a skin-tight mini dress might not be the appropriate outfit for the tone of that story. Bearing cleavage, or wearing a loud pink dress, for a story about a homicide won’t match the gravity of the story you’re sharing.

Pro tip: Keep a dark colored blazer at your work station, or in your car, just in case. I do this because we don’t always know the story we’ll be covering when we’re getting dressed for the day. A full length mirror is also a helpful tool in seeing how certain garments fit all around.

Some styles — such as deep V-necks, low backs, or high leg slits — are best served for after hours drinks with friends. An industry tip: Pick one feature to highlight and leave the rest subtle.

Expect your news director to let you know if your wardrobe is distracting, and be prepared to adapt, if necessary.

Always remember that not all news director’s judge fairly or appropriately.

So, when it comes to dressing professionally, the key takeaways are wearing clothes that fit well, aren’t too busy, and give you confidence. Just because a viewer finds your outfit inappropriate does not mean they are the ultimate judge of appropriate work attire.

Often times jealousy, or other motivations unrelated to your style, can push people to send an email, or make a call, regarding your outfit.

For Demetria, her clothing matches her personality, and gives her confidence. Though her dresses are very formfitting and show off her curves, it’s a look that she feels best wearing and one her news department clearly supports. In her role as a traffic anchor, Demetria likely won’t be covering grim subject matter, which is an important consideration for all on-air talent.

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