Sorry to break it to you newsreaders and weather persons, but you aren't much more than a pretty face.

A storm of controversy has engulfed The Weather Channel, after a 40-something former anchor accused network brass of washing her out of a high-ranking job to make way for a hot front of sexy young weatherwomen.

Marny Stanier Midkiff, 42, this week filed a lawsuit claiming she was booted in the fall of 2003 as part of a reputed "reorganization" of the storm channel, which she believes was really an excuse to get more young female weathercasters on the air.

Gosh, do you think so?

Midkiff says that, in the months before she was let go, her boss allegedly spoke of female staffers as "matronly," "dowdy" and "nun-like" and asked that female on-air talent turn up the temperature on their look with more revealing "V-neck" shirts.

Midkiff and her attorney claim The Weather Channel also began hiring new young weathercasters starting in 2003 as part of this effort, and the then-41-year-old, who spent 16 years reporting on sun and rain for the network, was left out in the cold.

"She got tossed aside because The Weather Channel wanted a younger look," said Midkiff's attorney, Daniel Klein. "She was one of the top [meteorologists]. She was one of the best they had, but she didn't fit the image they had in mind."

It's television, an industry that's built entirely on image. Everyone knows this. You don't see strippers or models sue over lost jobs when they get old, do you? No, because that's how life works. If you make a living off your looks, then some day you're going to have to find a new job. Similarly, if you base your self worth on your looks, some day you're going to become very depressed.

Looks are looks, people. Yes, looking good is nice, but it should be seen as a bonus to everything else. I try to look good, and I like being around people who look good, but it's far from the most important consideration. Unfortunately for beautiful people, they tend to get used to getting by on their looks alone (because it's easy, at first), and when their looks disappear they don't have the social or mental skills to keep up with the crowd. (That goes even for beautiful people who aren't in 100% image-dominated industries like television.)

Good looks are a double-edged sword, not only because other people can view you as nothing more than a pretty face, but because eventually you may begin to see yourself that way, too.



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