Female TV News Anchors Forced to Wear Wigs to Cover their Natural Hair
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According to a recent study, women of color represent only 12.6 percent of local news anchors in the country. Therefore, it doesn’t come as a surprise that black female news anchors are constantly under pressure to conform to some expectations given that this is a space where black women are already a minority. Discrimination against natural hair is common in the workplace, from the mall to the military, but for public-facing newscasters, it takes on another layer of scrutiny.
Is Natural Hair ‘Unprofessional?’
When it comes to television, consistency is a big part. Black women don’t often have a choice when it comes to their hair. As a black woman reading the news on TV, you are always discouraged from wearing natural hair. In the early days of their careers, black women were told to stay away from natural hair. In journalism workshops where black female news anchors are taught how to dress, wear make-up, and style their hair for the camera, it’s the same message. Don’t wear natural hair on TV. Its seen as unprofessional in television news and not acceptable.
A Small Price to Pay
As long as it’s neat and well kept, what does your hairstyle have to do with professionalism? It’s very unfair that black female TV anchors are forced to wear wigs to cover their natural hair. Wearing black hair is seen as inconsistent. It’s like you’ll be showing up with blue hair on one day, red hair the next day, and a mohawk on another. Since consistency is a big part of television news, in most cases, black news anchors have no choice but to conform to industry standards.
Those who aspire to take up broadcast journalism as a career know this from as early as their first day at the journalism school. But their love and passion for on-air journalism is often enough to make them alter their image in pursuit of their childhood dreams. That’s understandable as jobs don’t come easy in broadcast journalism. Most black female anchors feel like they don’t have a choice. They get a chance to pursue their dreams, and for many, not having the freedom to wear their natural hair is a small price to pay. However, some famous black TV entertainers have bit the bullet by going all natural and pursuing their dreams through other avenues like lifestyle shows and reality shows, and in the process, achieving even bigger milestones.
Author: Erica Barton
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