One meteorologist in Ohio won’t let viewers rain on her pregnancy with unsolicited critiques of her body.
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Ashlee Baracy, 34, of WBNS in Columbus is giddy with excitement over the expected birth of her first child next month, but her pregnancy got off to a rocky start when she was hit by nasty online criticism of her pregnant physique, the Columbus Dispatch reports.
“The sad part is the second I found out I was pregnant, I knew I would have to deal with criticism of my body by viewers,” Baracy told the newspaper. “I’ve been around the business long enough, and I’ve seen colleagues go through that.”
Baracy’s worst fears were realized in February after she announced her pregnancy during a newscast, setting off a torrent of mean-spirited emails and messages on social media — some of which were particularly pointed, she said.
“Pregnant or not, buy bigger clothes!!!” one message read. “You look bloated and uncomfortable … it is not likely your dressed will survive another 20 weeks of pregnancy weight.”
One viewer even heartlessly said that they couldn’t see next week’s temperatures because Baracy’s “baby was in the way,” while another message warned her to start worrying about her heart as weight increased.
Baracy, a former beauty pageant contestant who was named Miss Michigan in 2008, then decided to take matters into her own hands by publicly posting some of the more vicious and personal messages she received, including the health-conscious warning last month.
“My weight gain is normal, my blood pressure is perfect,” Baracy wrote on Facebook, where she posted the message by a man named Clay Walker. “Bless your heart ‘Clay,’ because Lord knows you will need all the blessing you can get when you meet the Lord someday at the pearly white gates.”
Baracy said she posted the messages in hopes to spark a discussion about body image and to highlight some of the treatment pregnant women can endure from strangers.
“If I can use my voice to make things better, I will do that,” she told the newspaper. “I hope this is a platform where we can talk more about it, because there are many women who deal with it.”