Women in the Public Eye: Judged not by the content of her character, but by the color of her skirt

Media personalities of all stripes are subject to an interactive relationship with the general public, be it positive, negative or neutral. But for female-presenting television reporters, the experience can be especially trying, as NBC10’s Lindsay Iadeluca described during a recent interview.

Our wide-ranging conversation pivoted into a discussion about the particular challenges that female-presenting news personalities may face, both while interacting with the public and within the confines of the newsroom.

Lindsay Iadeluca: It’s definitely something to think about. I actually discuss this to my interns or anybody that’s looking to get into the business. I love all of my interns, but you know, I’ll say to my interns who are young women, “You’re gonna have to face sexual comments that you’re not going to want online. You’re going to deal with critiques on your body. You’re going to deal with critiques on your makeup and your hair and things that if somebody is watching a man give a television report, I would say 90% sure that they’re not going to get an email about the color of their suit.”

There are a lot of times where I get messages that I’m like, “What are these people thinking?” and it blows my mind. And you know what? I am a fire girl. I’m Portuguese and I’m Italian, so I’ve got a mouth. It’s hard for me to tame it and sometimes I do just say to people, “Just think before you speak; there’s somebody on the other side of that comment.” I think a lot of times people don’t even realize that I see those emails. 

In Australia, there was a male news anchor that wore the same suit every day and just changed his tie, and no one noticed. But if I wore this dress next week, I’d get an email on it.  

So, it’s almost the smaller things that distract from your work. Some people will pick those out before they actually focus on how your reporting was or how your show was. 

I think that definitely plays a part, even more so for minority women. In this business, they have a whole other layer, especially, sadly enough, depending on where they are. 

My very first station that I worked for was in a very small, country, predominantly white town, where a lot of people didn’t know what my ethnicity was.  

It’s just something that I never, ever thought I would deal with in 2019. I think that are so many layers, obviously, but it reflects the country, too. It really does reflect the country and when you’re in the public eye, you’re going to get scrutinized for everything and you have to have a thick skin. 

There are going to be some people that don’t like the way you look or like the way you sound or think that you should be better at this or you should be doing more.  I actually had somebody come at me online the other day saying that I didn’t do enough for like women’s issues.

Bill Bartholomew (Motif): Just being on the newscasts, doing what you are doing on a day-to-day basis does a lot for women’s issues.

LI: Yeah, I do a lot. My friends and I, we just held a fundraiser for the Girls Leadership Collaborative in Providence. But people are going to say whatever.  

I think the hardest thing is you’ve got to get out of bed in the morning and know that they are not determining your worth, right? You have to be like, “You know what? Nah, I’m good.”

Next time you see somebody, focus on their work versus what they’re wearing or how they look. 

BB: When I was looking up something to prep for our conversation today, I typed your name in Google, and the first suggested result was “Is Lindsay Iadeluca married?”

LI: Oh yeah, that’s a big question. No, shocking. No, I am not married right now. 

I literally got someone this morning while I was doing a body shaming story. It was about a 17-year-old swimmer out of Alaska, and somebody tweets at me, “I’d like to see Lindsey Iadeluca in a bathing suit.” I was like, “Okay, this just got weird.” 

The internet trolls. It’s funny because I try to make a joke out of it, you know what I mean? Some days the trolls are out harder…

Listen to this episode of The Bartholomewtown Podcast on your preferred pod app, RIpodcast.com or bartholomewtown.com, and follow @billbartholomew for daily content.

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