Discrimination in the Full Figured Community
by Carriece Jefferson
SEGREGATION? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
Those are probably two of the many questions you’re asking yourself after reading the title. When we hear the word discrimination, it typically applies to race, religion, creed, sexual orientation, age, and gender. You’re sadly mistaken if you think that discrimination is just limited to those attributes and affiliations. The only reason why discrimination against weight isn’t a big deal to most is because many have the belief that weight can be controlled or helped unlike the other premises for discrimination.
Even though there’s a significant amount of biasness against full figured individuals when it comes down to fashion, romantic relationship preferences, the aviation industry, pseudo friendships, families (depending on its values and beliefs) and amusement park ride accommodations but what about the less obvious forms of such prejudice? How about variance in treatment that occurs in the workplace, place of worship, gender and let’s not forget the albino elephant – when a full figured person discriminates against a person of proximity. That’s right. Classicism within the full figured community has been in existence for a long time. Many would assume that full figured people would be the last to express animosity against others the same as them when the full figured community is constantly under society’s microscope resulting in harsh judgment.
NOT ALL FULL FIGURED PEOPLE ARE CREATED EQUAL!
There’s a phrase, “I might not be the fastest runner but there’s someone who’s slower than me.” How does it apply to the subject matter? For starters not all full figured individuals have truly embraced themselves so therefore they are unhappy and unwilling to change their current emotional well-being. In order for them to feel superior, they deliberately compete against others while exploiting weaknesses at the same time. Such insecurity action can result from jealousy, or the need to belong in social circles.
CURVY vs NON CURVY
A full figured woman having a successful modeling career was unheard of years ago. Thanks to retail stores for plus size women, the market for fuller women has become increasingly available to women. In addition to that, our male counterparts are openly stating their preference for “big women”, “a thick chick”, “a woman with some meat on her bones” or simply “a curvaceous lady”. Since fuller women with curves are favorable within the full figured community, an invisible line has been drawn. Does it mean that women who don’t have a small waist, a pear shape or an apple shape are less worthy? No of course not. But because partiality isn’t shown towards non curvy women they feel left out.
MALE VS FEMALE
Gender inequality isn’t only applied to workplace earnings and wages. Personally I’ve been in settings where a larger female endured bullying but nothing was done to the male who happened to be in the same category. Sometimes full figured women are viewed as lazy, unfashionable, or lack self control. On the other hand a larger male is viewed as strong, tough, a ladies man and sometimes viewed as sexy.
You met all the qualifications. You nailed the interview(s). But because you didn’t “look the culture”, you didn’t get the job offer. Even though no one in human resources would dare tell you, weight does play a part in decision making, depending on the organization’s culture. Stereotypes of laziness, excessive call-offs and increasing healthcare costs are made against overweight people.
PLACE OF WORSHIP
Depending on your religious belief, this may or might not apply. As a Christian, I was rooted in church and raised on biblical principles. Within the African American church, there’s social politics. Meaning that members of the congregation with prestigious affiliations (preacher’s kid, married to such-and-such person, established family, etc.) are given a “free pass” verses a less popular member is frowned upon. How about when a larger member arrives to church late and the usher escorts them to a pew with one slot open? Instead of the other members scooting down they remain stationary, causing the person to squeeze and climb over others while over apologetically uttering, “excuse me” to keep from offending anyone?
As you can see weight intolerance happens in many ways that people don’t realize. People will always have opinions as long as the world is in existence. How you respond to their viewpoints depends on your confidence and self esteem. How you feel about yourself (thoughts) will manifest in the fruits in which you produce (actions).