Amid the exhaustive litany of theories (both regular and conspiratorial) for why NBC unceremoniously fired Ann Curry, perhaps one of the most interesting has been supplied by the former Today host herself: people involved with the show didn't like her kaleidoscopic sense of fashion.
In an interview with Ladies Home Journal, Curry says she got her first tip-off that her colleagues maybe weren't digging her colorful outfits when a multicolored dress she was wearing on-set one day prompted someone to ask her if she was "trying to be Toucan Sam," the spokestoucan most famous for his endorsement of breakfast cereal. Curry dryly explains that she didn't wear the dress in an effort to channel Toucan Sam, and that this insight into how her co-workers regarded her wardrobe choices started to make her more self-conscious:
But I chose [the dress] because I thought, This will perk up America. I'm encouraged by my bosses to wear these ridiculously high-heeled shoes because women say, 'I love your shoes!' So if it makes women happy, I'll wear them. But I'm still going to be me... I've tried to wear clogs and flats on TV and it hasn't gone well with my bosses.
The Daily Beast's Isabel Wilkinson ponders whether Curry's anxiety over her choice of footwear might not be a little exaggerated, coming from a woman "who showed up every morning in a different pair of six-inch platforms." Curry added that all this second-guessing her wardrobe choices brought out more profound questions, such as,
Am I not good enough? Am I not what people need? I don't always understand my worth. I think it's a chronic condition for women. I'm not talking about professionally. I'm talking about in our personal lives. We constantly punish ourselves with degrading thoughts when we look at ourselves in the mirror. We allow people to treat us poorly, we allow our husbands or boyfriends to get away with things or we have relationships with girlfriends or colleagues who don't treat us well.
That's a pretty sobering insight into the pressure women (and men) feel to conform their appearances to certain pop-culture ideals, but Curry is part of that image-conscious pop-culture machine — she is (or was) a morning show host. Every morning, all kinds of American roll out of bed, ruffle their uncombed hair, and turn on their TVs so they can be greeted by immaculately groomed, dressed and powdered men and women, talking cheerily about the best way to enjoy the perfect summer barbecue. Maybe Ann Curry was fired for her choice of outfits, but it seems a little disingenuous to simultaneously rail against and perpetuate an unabashedly image-obsessed media culture.