I can barely button up my jacket. Tired and cranky, I eschew dieting to remain a (shocking!) size 14. This coincides with a new look on air: anchors sitting on stools (high backless chairs, not faecal matter). There’s nowhere to hide. My wardrobe is in conflict with its contents. Buttons are busted and skirts unzipped, as I squeeze stomach sausage into its casing.
Enter Diane von Furstenberg. (Not literally. The former German princess, and president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, is based in Manhattan.) Diane is famous for the wrap dress, which is part-robe, part-kimono.
It doesn’t matter how many muffins are scoffed or babies birthed, you’ll fit into her elasticised creations (or the affordable rip-offs). “I’m all about empowering women,” she says.
Most women’s clothes are made for models with the bodies of slim-hipped boys. Much like the Earth, I bulge at the equator. “Wow, it’s true what they say. You don’t snap back the second time,” a fellow reporter says, as if I’m a rubber band.
At least the baby’s healthy,” I snap. But after weeks of emails like “Tracey is bursting out of her jackets and it looks DISGUSTING. Is your newsreader still pregnant?” and “Welcome to the news. I ate all the pies!”, my folds of flesh are wrapped in fabric, like The Mummy.
Women are judged every day on what they wear or don’t wear.
In 2006, Sheikh Taj El-Din Hilaly delivers a Ramadan sermon blaming rape victims for dressing immodestly.
“If you take out uncovered meat and place it outside on the street, or in the garden or in the park, or in the backyard without a cover, and the cats come and eat it … whose fault is it, the cats’ or the uncovered meat?” he asks. “The uncovered meat is the problem. If she was in her room, in her home, in her hijab, no problem would have occurred.”
As I read the intro to this story my voice quavers. I can barely contain my outrage at the image of women as “uncovered meat”.
After the bulletin, I wander over to the water cooler, shadowed by a senior producer. “Hey, Trace, you know that conversation we had over the phone?”
“What, the one about me going behind the scenes? Am I no longer considered ‘hot’ enough to be on camera now I’m a ‘mummy’?”
“No, of course not. We want your experience on the production desk to help the new recruits.”