Career

Is Body Shaming an Obstacle in Career Growth

fat shaming at work

To think, how often have we been told to change our appearance? Magazines constantly offer tips on how to lose weight in days and appear slimmer instantly without actually knowing anything about us. Body shaming is criticizing ourselves or others because of some aspect of physical appearance.

According to statistics 94 percent of women and 84 percent of men are affected by body shaming. A report found 60 percent of adults in America said that they feel ashamed of the way they look.

Body shaming comes in many forms, people being told they are too skinny, too fat, too pale, too short, spotty and not muscular enough and the list goes on. The issue of body shaming is seen to be one that affects all societies, regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, disability, body size and shape.

Having body image issues and being verbally attacked for the way everyone looks can be incredibly damaging to mental health. Positive body image is an important element of emotional well being.

Size matters: Is Body shaming an obstacle in career path?

Weight biasness is extremely frequent in the United States. Individuals who are affected by excess weight or obesity experience discrimination across a wide variety of settings including health care, schools, employment, and interpersonal relationships.

Weight discrimination in workplace is more common against women than men. Fat people of all genders pay a price at every stage of the employment process.

They are seen as less qualified while generally putting in longer hours and have lower starting salaries as compared to thinner employees. Gender differences have also been documented in obesity related wage penalties, where women who are affected by obesity tend to earn salaries that are six percent lower than thinner women for the same work performed.

Men who are affected by obesity experience a smaller wage penalty: three percent less than thinner men.  It is not surprising that fat women experience employment discrimination at eye popping rates.

Similar gender differences have been documented within the political arena. Research examining political candidates has found that female candidates who are affected by excess weight receive lower ratings of reliability, dependability, honesty, ability to inspire, and ability to perform a strenuous job than non over weight female candidates.

Studies Prove That Being Underweight is Worse Than Obesity

Body Shaming discrimination at work

Studies have found that girls experience more weight-based victimization, reporting higher level of testing and being assigned more negative characteristics as a result of their weight than boys.

Boys and girls who experience weight-based victimization are at increased risk for negative social and educational outcomes, however these risks seem to be even more pronounced for girls who are overweight, display lower academic self esteem and are significantly more likely to be held back a grade than boys.

Girls are also more likely to experience negative psychological outcomes like depression in response to experiences of weight victimization, and may endure more pronounced difficulties in interpersonal relationships with peers and dating partners in adolescence.

Adolescent and young adult women who are affected by excess weight have lower potential for romantic relationships as compared to their non over weight peers.

Implicit and unconscious biasness play a vital role in the treatment of women in the workplace who are larger than average. The problem of weight discrimination is not new, but new research shows it is growing as a concern in the workplace because the incidence of obesity is growing.

Employees that are overweight and obese when they are evaluated for companies with health promotion programs, receive lower hiring recommendations and are rated negatively. Overweight women have a compelling case about being mistreated and discriminated against in the workplace.

Check out this article an example of double standard in our society.

Women employees who are viewed as overweight are not likely to wind up in jobs involving personal interaction with customers.

It does appear that some differences may exist, particularly that girls and women may have heightened vulnerability in certain contexts compared to boys and men.

These differences are important to be aware of, especially for the employers in workplace and educators in schools who can intervene to help reduce weight stigmatization in the settings and be prepared to offer support to those facing stigmatization, with the knowledge that girls and boys, or women and men may be impacted by weight stigmatization in different ways.

There’s a lot of talk these days about the “obesity epidemic” in the U.S and with good reason. The overall rate of obesity has doubled in the past twenty years, and it has tripled in teens.

Twenty percent of kids are over weight and statistic shows that most will become overweight adults. Better nutrition and exercise are certainly part of the formula for reversing this trend.

Can we stop fat shaming, weight bias and discrimination against people with obesity?

Weight biasness can threaten people’s physical and mental health. In most western cultures obesity is seen as personal failing rather than predictable consequence of normal people interacting with obesogenic environments. Seeing obesity as a personal failure leads to weight biasness.

People should not discriminate against people with obesity because they can’t help it, they are diseased. People of all shapes, sizes, shades and abilities deserve respect and fair treatment.

How to deal with obstacles:

Never give up!

The great achievements come from incredible obstacles. Think of challenges as opportunities to learn and grow. Say no to drama, when obstacles come up. Instead of going into panic, calling out friends, take a deep long breath and look at the situation calmly.

No one can control people, places or things. We can only control our responses. Therefore naming, shaming or blaming does not serve us.

What serves us is our personal awareness ad accountability.  We are responsible for our own lives. Collaborating with others rather than attacking them will bring positive results and this is a guarantee.

We are incredibly strong and there is nothing we can not do. Awareness and sensitive training may also help, creating a culture of acceptance, kindness and diversity for all may create a change in attitude.

If You Hate Your Body Image; This Is For You!

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