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Have you ever experienced fat discrimination?

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Old 02-21-2010, 02:42 PM   #1
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Default Have you ever experienced fat discrimination?

The thread about "when did you feel normal?" got me thinking about fat discrimination.

What makes me feel "normal" is not feeling like people are jumping to certain conclusions about me, IMMEDIATELY, without knowing me, because of how I looked.

When I weighed in the upper 200s, I always felt like people who met me just automatically assumed certain negative things about me. Maybe part of it was in my mind. I used to cope with it by telling myself that it was ALL in my mind. But sadly, I don't think it was. Now, that I feel that less, at my current weight, I feel more "normal."

Have you experienced this?
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Old 02-21-2010, 03:50 PM   #2
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I'm sure I have. I can only think of one case, though when I was sure. It was a second interview for a Fortune 500 company (the first interviewer was a man and he seemed very impressed with me - thus the second interview with his boss).

The boss (a woman) seemed to dislike me from the minute she saw me, and she kept looking at me oddly (almost as if my appearance was distracting her from listening to my answers to her questions). I was young (just out of college) and didn't confront her or ask her about it (I learned later that if I brought up my weight in an interview, asking if there were concerns about my ability to do the job, I seemed to be more likely to get the job).

On a side note though, when I interviewed for the position, I'd been told (by my college recruiting office), that the company did have a stringent dress code at the time (it was 1987) of navy or black suit and solid colored shirt or blouse, and for women preferably a skirt rather than pants, and that I should interview in a navy or black suit with a solid colored blouse, preferably white or cream. I didn't have a navy or black suit, or time to buy one before the interview (I'd looked in all the local shops, but nothing appropriate in my size), so I wore the suit I did have which was blue - but not navy.

I think it was the fat that put her off, and I don't think it was the color of the suit, unless it aggravated her as much that I didn't wear the black or navy I was "supposed to."

Ironically, I did get a job with the company 12 years later at a rank and salary level much higher than snob-lady's would have been when she interviewed me.

For the most part, I have a personality that most people do seem to
find attractive. I've often gotten comments (in dating and before sensitivity training was common in the workplace) that I didn't act or seem like the "typical fat person."

That's the gold standard of back handed compliments, as far as discrimination goes in my opinion (such as when a relative told my African American BIL that he was a nice man, not at all like "most" black people).


I don't give fat discrimination much thought, because there's so little that can be done about it and because most people aren't going to tell you (or even realize themselves) why you weren't treated better or why you weren't chosen for the job, etc.

It also helps to remember that no one is immune from discrimination. It's perfectly legal to choose not to hire someone because they remind you of your ex-wife. There are a million things that can be someone else's pet peeve that make them unlikely to treat you nicely. You can't make everyone like you, so you do the best you can.

I also found that in interviews, I had more success when I brought up my weight. I'd ask if they had any concerns about my weight, in regarding to my ability to do the job or elsewise. Putting it on the table, seemed to increase my odds of success (it's ballsy, I know, but worth it, in my opinion).
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Old 02-21-2010, 03:57 PM   #3
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I actually used to discriminate about fat people myself. The first time I lost the weight, I got into a "if I can do it, anyone can" sort of attitude, and DEF looked down on (though did not mention) people who were heavier than me, and ESP people who were heavier than I had been!

Putting the weight back on has been a very humbling experience, and I am sure I won't do the same next time I get back down to 200.
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Old 02-21-2010, 05:23 PM   #4
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I definitely experienced it professionally. In two different experiences of mine, less qualified, less educated, thin, petitie blonde women took positions I should have been hired for.
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Old 02-21-2010, 05:39 PM   #5
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Not overtly, but I've been on the thin side of conversations where people (relatives) felt comfortable putting down people who were overweight. For instance, the moment my uncle and cousin said "She's becoming a fat cow" about a local news anchor is engrained in my memory forever, and they might as well be saying it to me now. You never know who you may be hurting in the future by what you say now.
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Old 02-21-2010, 05:58 PM   #6
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No but I discriminate against myself. I have, somehow, got so used to categorizing myself as not normal, and definitely not attractive, that I'm happy with my second-class citizen status - so no-one picks on me because I know my place.
I don't LIKE that - I'm starting to want to want to change it.
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Old 02-21-2010, 06:28 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosinante View Post
No but I discriminate against myself. I have, somehow, got so used to categorizing myself as not normal, and definitely not attractive, that I'm happy with my second-class citizen status - so no-one picks on me because I know my place.
I don't LIKE that - I'm starting to want to want to change it.
I do this too. It is like you spoke for me.
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Old 02-21-2010, 06:37 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosinante View Post
No but I discriminate against myself. I have, somehow, got so used to categorizing myself as not normal, and definitely not attractive, that I'm happy with my second-class citizen status - so no-one picks on me because I know my place.
I don't LIKE that - I'm starting to want to want to change it.
I also do this. I just start out from the position of assuming that men aren't attracted to me so that I'm not disappointed. And really, I think it's my attitude that's probably making me unattractive--it's a self-fulfilling prophecy! But for so long, I have been invisible to men that it's hard to change my feelings. Being tall already makes a lot of men uninterested; being tall and overweight pretty much seals the deal. Now that I'm only 10 pounds above normal BMI, you'd think that I'd be more confident but I'm really not.
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Old 02-21-2010, 07:02 PM   #9
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I agree with you all. I was so discriminated against growing up that I started bullying myself. I am learning how to accept and change that way I see myself and hopefully one day others will see me differently.
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Old 02-21-2010, 07:20 PM   #10
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I don't know if I have or not in a professional world. I know I have in the dating world. Men and women are very shallow.
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