A Canadian meteorologist decided to speak out after a viewer called her maternity clothes “disgusting.”
Kelsey McEwen of Toronto has been appearing in on-air broadcasts for six years, and in that time, she’s been pregnant twice. Her first child is almost 3 years old, and her second is due at the end of September.
On Tuesday, the pregnant meteorologist shared a nasty tweet she received from a viewer and a quick response to it.
“I can’t believe the skin tight maternity attire ... disgusting!” the viewer had written.
McEwen tweeted a screenshot of the comment, along with the caption, “When what a 34 week pregnant woman is wearing is what someone finds ‘disgusting’ in this world... time to check your priorities.”
She followed up on Wednesday by sharing som impassioned remarks on air.
“When what I’m wearing is what you find disgusting in this world — in this week, in particular — you need to check your priorities,” McEwen said. “Listen, I’m a firm believer that my body and your body is no one’s business but your own. Your body is not for anyone to talk about ... it is not anyone else’s business but your own.”
She added, “You know what is disgusting? Not my wear, but racism and hate and bullying. So let’s stand up to that.”
Though McEwen also noted that she’s received lots of lovely compliments from viewers throughout her pregnancy, she emphasized the importance of separating self-worth from appearance and the need for people to realize we’re all so much more than the way we look.
She reiterated these points with an Instagram post.
McEwen told HuffPost she received some awful comments during her first pregnancy as well. “It hurt, a lot, partly because at the time, I was struggling to accept the dramatic changes pregnancy brings to your body,” she said.
“I vividly remember two incidents where viewers called and told me how they felt I looked. One felt it was ‘inappropriate and uncomfortable’ that I wore a black dress that showed my ‘fat knees and thighs,’” she recalled. “Another was mad that my growing belly covered Manitoba ― a Canadian province. Side note, I wasn’t working in Manitoba.”
Though McEwen felt self-conscious and had trouble brushing those comments off, she said she’s changed her perspective over the past three years. “I mean, if I can’t be my number one fan, who will be? While I still have days where I feel crappy about myself, I’m much better at reminding myself what’s important: my heart, love, kindness and mindfulness,” she explained.
McEwen believes what matters in her life is being a good mother and a respectful, loving partner. “When I focus on that, no criticism of my body can really get me down,” she said. “I didn’t feel hurt by this troll’s comment. Instead, I felt empowered to rise up and try to start a dialogue about it.”
The meteorologist said she believes women in broadcast receive more comments on their appearance than their male counterparts do.
“It’s disappointing that, as a society, we feel like the easiest way to compliment or criticize women is to focus on appearance.” said McEwen “If we want girls to feel empowered to be whatever they want in this world, we need to tell them they are more than their appearance. If we want our boys to believe the same, we need to lead by example and not focus so much on our own appearances and those of others.”
She added, “It doesn’t mean a compliment about appearance isn’t allowed. But it doesn’t, and shouldn’t, have to be what’s most important.”
McEwen explained, “I’d rather be remembered for making the world a better place than simply being ‘pretty.’ Wouldn’t you?”
Given the recent acts of hate and intolerance appearing in the news, McEwen believes everyone has an obligation to stand up for what’s right, and she aims to teach and guide others to be kind, respectful and fair. “Telling someone their clothing is disgusting because they are pregnant and it’s tight ... well that’s just none of those things.”
Ultimately, the mom hopes her story inspires others. “Hopefully next time someone else, pregnant or not, hears someone say something awful about how they look, they’ll now know what to say. ‘Thank you, but no. My body is not your concern.’”