Broadcast journalism wardrobe evolution:

As a broadcaster, your soul job is to deliver the news to your audience, without any distractions. When dressing for any kind of broadcasting, it is important that your outfit is professional, however, in this day in age, broadcast journalists are straying away from two piece suits. According to the Washington Post, “For decades, the suit jacket transformed women into workers. With jackets required for entrance at male-dominated clubs and boardrooms, women bundled up their breasts to blend into a professional culture that predated their arrival.” However, now news anchors, “flank themselves in bright sleeveless sheath dresses and stiletto heels, renouncing the once hard-and-fast edicts of television news: no bare legs, no long hair, no feminine distractions from the news.”

So female news anchors have now embraced femininity into their style onscreen. However, I still believe that your wardrobe should not distract from the words you are trying to relay to your audience.

While many national stations hire stylists to dress their anchors, FOX news allows their anchors to choose their own outfits- however they are still providing them with the clothes.

FOX “only encourages women anchors to wear bold bright colors that producers once eschewed: bright greens, fuchsias, hot pinks.” Their brand is now color. 

So while national news stations are revising women’s clothing to be more feminine, still some smaller local stations enforce stricter, more modest guidelines.

For example, KOMU- a university broadcast station- requires the following of its female anchors:

– DO wear a suit with a  skirt or pants

– DO wear hose if legs are visible

– DO wear professional shoes

– DO maintain a professional haircut

– DO NOT show bear legs

– DO NOT have visible piercings (other than one earring per ear)

While some of these restrictions maintain professionalism- such as wearing professional shoes and limited piercings- others of them hold very out of date standards for women, such as not allowing women to show their bare legs, and maintaining a professional haircut. These restrictions, some could say, are not about professionalism as a women, but are about suppressing feminine qualities that, in my opinion, should not be shameful things.

Twelve years ago in a news room, women dressed to imitate a mans wardrobe in order to be ‘taken seriously’. Today, as the sexes are becoming more equalized, a women’s feminine qualities should be celebrated, not shamed or hidden.


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