Why it was careless for Anele Mdoda to say TV newsreaders need to stick to a certain look

Anele Mdoda. Picture: File.

Anele Mdoda. Picture: File.

Published Jul 7, 2023


It seems like women will never catch a break regarding their looks. There is always someone waiting to police them on how they should dress, wear their hair and so forth.

Media personality Anele Mdoda took to Twitter to express how she would like television newsreaders to stick to a certain look and not change their hair regularly.

“Unpopular opinion. Newsreaders on tv really need to stick to a look. News is about consistency, familiarity and trust. Changing wigs everyday shame… Hayi it’s not making sure. In your own time wig it ghel but on the desk… please,” she wrote.

What’s careless about her statement is that for the longest time, most women, especially black women, have been policed in the workplace.

They were told that their natural hair was “not professional” and they needed to change it to look more presentable.

And now that they are changing it, we have people like Mdoda who are confident in telling them that they can change it, but not too much.

Which reminds me of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s famous quote: “We teach girls that they can have ambition, but not too much... to be successful, but not too successful, or they’ll threaten men.”

Newsreaders are people, they are not their job. If they can perform their duties well, then there is no need for people try and police how their hair looks.

The focus should be on the news they are delivering and not their wigs.

People like @NeliMsomi also raised valid points because it doesn’t make sense wanting someone to wear their hair a specific way unless it prohibits them from doing their work or is destructive.

It’s not like the newsreaders show up to work with funky hairstyles that are dyed in neon green or pink. They usually wear dark hair to avoid distracting the viewers by making their hair the point of attraction.

“1. This is policing black women’s hair.

2. Our hair allows for diversity.

3. Newsreaders are humans. They are allowed to have their done in whatever hairstyle they are happy with.

4. The credibility of news cannot be measured by an anchor’s hairstyle,” wrote @NeliMsomi.

People on Twitter told Mdoda to stop trying to police women to wear their hair in a way that makes her comfortable.

“Maybe, I don’t know, but just maybe, try and just listen to what comes out of their mouths (because that’s what NEWS is), instead of telling them to dress in a way that makes YOU feel comfortable.

“As if you don’t have your own body to exercise that autonomy,” commented @JustNonto.

Others highlighted how dense she is by thinking a newsreader regularly changing their hair has a negative effect on how the news is received.

“This us how you guys think when your friend group is mostly men. Because trust, Mfundo Mabalane changing her hairstyle every week doesn't prevent anyone from knowing that Patrice Motsepe intervened in the Banyana Banyana saga,” commented @LeratoShangwina.

Below are more reactions from people exposing Mdoda’s ignorance.

— naks (@asive_u) July 5, 2023