Taylor Rooks Credit: Two Personal Show

Prime Video and TNT Sports reporter Taylor Rooks went viral online last week for her look at a GQ red carpet event. That saw many in awe of the stunning green dress she wore while others criticized the outfit for being overly revealing in the chest.

Rooks responded to the attention she got on this week’s episode of the Two Personal Show, which she cohosts with Fox Sports commentator Joy Taylor. Rooks chided those on either side of the reaction, defending her style choice before arguing that how she dresses and presents herself publicly is solely her decision and not representative of other women in media or beyond.

“What I was really struck by … [is] sort of these respectability politics around how women dress,” Rooks said. “I saw somebody say, ‘I can’t believe she’s showing us her boobs, I thought she was classy.’ Number one, you were incorrect. You haven’t seen my boobs, and you won’t ever.

“But number two, how interesting and confining it is that if a woman did decide to take a fashion risk and bare that, that she would automatically and immediately go from what you consider classy to just not being classy off one personal choice on one night. I just think it’s a very fickle, dense and lazy idea that we have of women and how much power we give their bodies that we believe that the choices that women make symbolize something about them, as opposed to that just being what they wanted to do that day. We try to label what women want to do and make it seem like they are saying something about themselves that really isn’t fair.”

Rooks articulated that she was proud of how she looked at the GQ Global Creativity Awards. And while she will use different material under her dresses in the future to avoid confusion, she doesn’t see it as a decision between acceptable or unacceptable, but simply her personal preference.

“I also saw some tweets that were like, ‘those are pasties. Taylor Rooks would never [expose her nipples],'” Rooks added. “Me wearing covers with that dress or me here saying I wouldn’t show my body that way or that I don’t like personally a certain level of exposure, do not use me or what you think of me as a measuring stick or example of what you feel to be classy if it’s being weaponized to look down on the other choices of women.

“What I’m saying might be different, but I don’t condone … that judgment of women. I’m not with that and I don’t want to be used for that. Women should have the freedom to do what they want with their bodies and their clothes, and I really love looking at it. I am just simply talking about myself and my personal preferences.”

It’s admirable that Rooks would use a moment in which — despite some controversy over her outfit — she largely was being hit on by weird dudes online to stand up for women with a public profile more broadly. Many women in sports media, from Erin Andrews to Hannah Storm to Charissa Thompson, have spoken out about the ways they are objectified by fans and even other media members.

Rooks’ Two Personal cohost Joy Taylor, who has been in the business longer than her younger cohost, emphasized Rooks has “no reason to be” upset and said “I’m very proud of you for not allowing the internet to make you upset.”

Rooks may be younger and newer in the space, but isn’t waiting for years of issues to pile up before she defends herself and her female colleagues.

[Two Personal Show on YouTube]

About Brendon Kleen

Brendon is a Media Commentary staff writer at Awful Announcing. He has also covered basketball and sports business at Front Office Sports, SB Nation, Uproxx and more.