SHAPE Magazine Misses By a Mile

Shape Magazine has just become hip to the studies that show that fat women have a more difficult time getting hired and are paid less than their thin counterparts.  They point out that this doesn’t happen to men and they acknowledge that it’s not fair.  But then they start doling out advice:

“It’s okay to enjoy a doughnut, just don’t do it at work.”

Oh noes – call the food police we have an PDF EWF (Public Display of Fatness:  Eating While Fat)

Simply ask yourself: What can I do to make tomorrow healthier than today?”

This won’t help – I’m already very healthy and I’m still fat.  So what you mean is:  what can I do to make tomorrow thinner than today?  While I’m at it, what else can I do that has no bearing on my job performance that will make my picture fit your frame?  Get a nose job?  Change my hair color?  My skin color? How can I help support your bigotry and change myself to suit you? Just say the word, it’s all for you baby.

“Just say, ‘I’m concerned. Is this is a factor? I know my weight is an issue and I’m working on it.’ “

Unless I’m applying for a job that actually has something to do with the size of my body my weight is NOT an issue, social stigma is the issue.  So how about this instead:  “I’m concerned because studies show that fat women aren’t hired as often as their thin counterparts and are paid less if they are hired.  I know that bigotry and stigma can be an issue and I know it’s something people have to work on. Obviously I would never want to bring my talent and creativity to a bigoted, short-sited, aesthetics-obsessed, unethical company.  This company would never do that, right? Of course you’re hiring based on ability to to the job and not skin color, body size, or other superficial things, correct?

As I say all the time, I believe that people’s choices about their bodies should be respected so if you want to lose weight I’m here to support your choice.  I also know that not having a job is scary and I would never, in any way, cast disparagement on anyone who does whatever they believe they need to do to provide for themselves or their family. That’s not what this blog is about.

However, I also acknowledge that if we want change where this is concerned, somebody has to stand up to this.

If you are in a position to hire people obviously I’m looking at you. I hope to god that you wouldn’t turn someone down because of their skin color or because you didn’t think they were pretty or handsome.  By the same token I hope that you wouldn’t pass on a qualified candidate because of the shape of their body.

If you are looking for a job consider bringing this up in the job interview.  Obviously my scripting above is over the top but I think that some of the weight bias might be subconscious and bringing it to light may be just the thing to destroy it.

No matter what you decide, understand that IT IS NOT YOU!

Remember that the people who are spreading nasty rumors about fat people being poor employees or costing the workplace billions are people who stand to profit from spreading these untruths.

Your size doesn’t say anything more about your work ability than the color or your skin or the style of your hair. This in incredibly bigoted and unfair.  The word I’m looking for here is bullshit and we deserve better.

Published in: on June 1, 2011 at 2:36 am  Comments (9)  

9 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I’m really glad I stumbled across your blog and even more glad to get your updates. Just sayin’

  2. Perfectly said! It saddens me that discrimination against fat people is the last form of hatred against humanity that’s legally allowed. It’s only going to get worse.

  3. Indeed. I am so tired of hearing how I need to change my fat body in order to accommodate prejudice and discrimination. When will the message be, prejudice and discrimination are wrong – that is the problem and that is what should be changed!

  4. Having just gotten a new job – let me know if you want to hear the drama! – I can happily say that there are hiring managers who are genuinely more interested in what skills a candidate offers than in what the candidate looks like. The problem is that these hiring managers are few and far between.

    I think that it is important to praise and reward those who behave in an acceptable fashion, rather than berate those who do not. Ignoring them won’t make the problem go away, of course, but not taking a job at below market rate sure will!

    I’m not saying, I’m just saying. Stand up for yourself and get what you are worth.

    Of course, you’ve already said that many times – and are by far more eloquent. *hug* :)

  5. I’m unemployed after working a six month temp job. Today I went to an information session for a warehouse job through Kohl’s. There were young people, middle-aged people, people bordering on becoming senior citizens and quite a few of us fat folks. So many people of all shapes and sizes are looking for work—there are people that want a job. If you have what they want, your weight shouldn’t even be a factor, but unfortunately a lot of HR people only see size and immediately shut down, especially if it’s for office work or a front desk job.

    The April edition of Reader’s Digest had a big article on what HR won’t tell you. One woman admits she discriminates against fat people even if they are qualified. If I were her boss, she wouldn’t be working any longer, that’s for sure!

  6. There was an article in Reader’s Digest a while back about Secrets of HR managers. One of them said “if you’re fat I’m not going to hire you. Prejudice is a great selection tool.” Imagine the backlash if this crotch had said “if you’re (fill in the race) I’m not going to hire you.” Disgusting!

  7. I’m not here to spread pro-Union propaganda, but I do feel it worth mentioning that, here in Las Vegas, working in an extremely image-conscious environment that has a long history of sexual discrimination and harassment, the Union that employs me has taken equal hiring policies to almost unheard-of heights.

    I, as a middle-aged fat chick with no college degree (in my field, at least) make the exact same amount as a thin, media-standard good looking man half my age, or a silicon-enhanced media-standard good-looking woman. We all make the same exact amount! We even remind each other how much we’re paid in case anyone starts getting uppity :D

    Where we still differ is in non-Union promotional opportunities. Somehow, a beautiful woman with a cosmetology degree made it to a supervisory position before anyone with an MBA, fat or thin.

  8. I’m a minister and I just moved from one congregation to another. As a goodbye present, a parishioner gave me Dr. Phil’s Guide to Weight Loss and wrote a Bible verse inside the front cover. I want to set it on fire and put it on her front porch. God, I have needed to say this ever since it happened, thank you for allowing guest comments. I feel so much better.

    • I am so sorry that happened to you :( Glad that you got a chance to vent!

      ~Ragen


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