Why are we still shaming pregnant television presenters and celebrities?

An on-air meteorologist on American television, pregnant with twins, has taken to social media to defend herself, after being subjected to hideous remarks, including, “sticking your pregnant abdomen out like that is disgusting”. Sadly, this type of tasteless banter is nothing new – in fact several Australian presenters have been ridiculed in a similar fashion, stretching back to the 90s. 

CBS3 Philly’s Katie Fehlinger recently decided she’d had enough. While she admits, being on television does mean criticism comes with the territory, she just couldn’t ignore viewers calling her “sausage in casing”. Katie was pregnant with twins at the time and recently celebrated their safe arrival.

Whew, a whirlwind of a weekend! I have to say it again – just can't believe the outpouring of (now) worldwide support…

Posted by Katie Fehlinger on Monday, 24 August 2015

“Everyone’s right to their opinion is important, but so are manners. And while rude comments like these will never make me feel the need to change anything about myself, I find a bigger underlying issue here. These particular nasty-grams were directed at a pregnant woman,” Katie wrote on Facebook.

Instead of bowing to her ‘haters’, Katie instead addressed all mums-to-be:


Unfortunately, Katie is treading a well-worn path, particularly here in Australia.

Back in 1997, Sale Of The Century darling Nicky Buckley had several complaints levelled at her, when she continued her stint on our screens while pregnant:

“Nicky Buckley, why don’t you dress with more decorum instead of flaunting your pregnancy in skin-tight clothes?” 

“Couldn’t Nicky Buckley wear more suitable clothing and give her on-camera appearance more dignity?”

“Nicky obviously wants this huge stomach look. When is one of the fashion houses going to make Nicky Buckley some nice maternity dresses? Until then, Glenn (Ridge), stop telling her she looks great. She doesn’t.”

At the time, she told the Sun Herald, “All I’m doing is getting dressed and going to work. Why is it OK for a woman in an office to work up until she’s due? Why should I stop work? People forget this is my job,” she said.

Conversely, Nine News weekend weather presenter Rebecca Judd has been also been lambasted, but for being too thin, particularly post-pregnancy. She took to her blog to defend her body shape: “Healthy comes in all shapes and sizes. Some people are naturally thin, some people are naturally bigger, some people are more athletic in tone, some people have minimal tone. We are all different and we are all NORMAL. This is the message we need to project, not “Is Rebecca Judd a bad role model for being thin?” Seriously? (Oh yeah and lets ignore the fact that I’m never sick, am super fertile, have delivered two big, healthy babies, have the energy to work a million jobs and have ALWAYS looked like this shall we?).”


Our doorstep @seahavennoosa ☀️ A photo posted by Rebecca Judd (@becjudd) on

Recently, Studio 10 co-host Sarah Harris wrote a scathing article, revealing she’d been subjected to criticism after revealing her pregnancy on air. She says, “It’s hard not to feel like a failure when viewers tell me that if I really cared about the health of my unborn baby, I wouldn’t dare wear stilettos to work … or bleach my hair”.

Back in the 90s during the Nicky Buckley controversy, then Nine Network head of news Peter Meakin lamented that back in the day, management used to be embarrassed about pregnant women being on air. “I really don’t know why,” he said, at the time.

“I think we’re more mature about women in a number of areas. It’s now accepted that pregnancy is not a blot on the television landscape.”

It seems the world may once again need to take a pregnant pause, and adopt an attitude of acceptance.

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