I don’t really believe that fat people aren’t good workers. In fact, I am a fat people (or at least I used to be) and I happen to think that I am a good worker. There are a lot of people who do believe this, though. I believe that this is just fuzzy thinking.
A lecturer at NYU recently tweeted “Dear obese PhD applicants: If you don’t have the willpower to stop eating carbs, you won’t have the willpower to do a dissertation. #truth.” More fuzzy thinking:
What does will power re: food have to do with willpower over anything else? Why don’t people who don’t have willpower re: other things–alcohol, sex, spending, gambling, exercise, hoarding–fall into this guys criticism. This guy is an evolutionary psychologist–a scientist–who should have more discipline in his thinking.
He’s not the only one. Recruiters (I once had a recruiter proudly tell me that he made overweight candidates walk up four flights of steps to interviews and if they couldn’t do it, they didn’t get to the next level. Why? Is walking up stairs a job requirement? If he doesn’t do that for normal weight people, then how does he know that they can (if it is a requirement of getting to the next level?), hiring managers, supervisors, co-workers, sales people, customers all make decisions about people based on their weight. Is it relevant? Sometimes. More often not.
Prejudice against fat people is an acceptable prejudice. It is close to the last acceptable prejudice. If you find yourself being prejudice against overweight people, challenge your thinking. Examine what you believe about fat people, thought by thought by thought. Do they really support one another?
Do you just not like fat people? Do you just think that fat people should do better/be better/act better? Is this a big enough deal that they should not get a job or a promotion? Do you believe that being fat is an indicator of someone’s character? There is a recent study that shows that children as young as four are prejudiced.
OK, So I Think This Discrimination Is Wrong
But it is not illegal. It is hard to prove (and a lot of people think it is justified). So . . . if you are overweight, this is something that you can actually do to affect your employability and promotability. It might have as much of an impact (or more) as getting more education, or more experience, or even more networking.