100 lb. Club - Size-ism: How real is it?




View Full Version : Size-ism: How real is it?


irishgreengables
09-08-2005, 04:06 PM
Do any of you feel like you are treated unfairly because of your size? If so, how do you know? Is it really your size or a personality clash or what?

Today, a very opinionated, very skinny, very pretty woman scolded -- yes scolded -- me for being too opinionated. I walked away, in tears, feeling like a very unlikeable person. But this person is not just opinionated herself, but she back stabs with her opinions. The opinion for which she scolded me had nothing to do with anyone but myself -- it was an opinion about myself!

This type of thing has happened twice before in the past year and I keep wondering if I just need a major personality change or if people are unwilling to tolerate behavior from fat people that they would easily tolerate from skinny people.

Is this all in my fat little head? Help!


lucky
09-08-2005, 04:24 PM
if people are unwilling to tolerate behavior from fat people that they would easily tolerate from skinny people.

Is this all in my fat little head? Help!

I'd say a little from column A and a little from column B, or at least that has been my personal experience.

I know that there are people who think poorly of overweight people. But, I also recognize that I am especially sensitive about my weight and can very easily read more into other people's comments than was their intention. I remember having moments of feeling picked on while at my highest weight. Now that I've lost weight I can't think of one incident where someone was deliberatley mean because of my size. Instead, I realize that I used my weight as a crutch (skinny girl got a promotion ahead of me? - must be my weight). It was a protective shield so to speak. It gave me a reason to justify anything that didn't quite go my way.

Also, I know that I've been guilty of being OVERLY opinionated as a means of making a point because I felt my weight made me unworthy to have an opinion period. I realize now that I used my weight to be overbearing to a degree. So, sometimes what I percieved as someone else's prejudice was really my own attitude.

Just by the description you gave of this woman I bet you aren't her only target. She's probably just that way to everyone - thin and fat people alike.
She's probably unhappy herself.

Inca's Momma
09-08-2005, 04:33 PM
I agree with above. I am also overly sensitive about my weight and take things the wrong way when they were never meant that way.


SnShn13
09-08-2005, 04:56 PM
That makes four of us! I feel like I'm not as good as other people because of my size. I feel like people look at me like I'm a slob or that I don't take good care of myself. A lot of people think that overweight people are smelly, etc. I think that overweight people might not be AS respected but it can go like that with any stereotype... i.e. blonde being stupid (which we're not!) I'm trying to get to know myself and love who I am so that I don't let other people affect me so much!

glynne
09-08-2005, 05:46 PM
If there have been times where I have been treated unfairly because of my size, I have not realized it. I do something to my own self though because of it ~ at work, I keep busy all the time ~ almost never sort of sitting back and relaxing when things are a little slower (they aren't often, but occasionally). I feel that I must be ever busy because I am afraid that if people see ever sitting doing nothing ~ they will be thinking ~ look at that big fat lazy person.

I kind of feel like Kimberly too ~ that things people might say inocently (sp) I take it the wrong way because I am sensitive about my weight.

srmb60
09-08-2005, 05:57 PM
At the risk of my daughter actually reading this .... She is established in the retail business. She's worked in little and big stores in our area since she was 15. However when she moved to the city she applied at several clothing stores in malls and things and never even got an interview. Now how valuable could all that experience be? You've all been in stores where the model slim workers have to go ask the manager ...
She did finally get a job in a craft store.

barbygirl43
09-08-2005, 06:22 PM
It sounds like to me that that woman just doesn't like any one else to have an opinion period and just lashed out at you.

As for me being treated differently because of my weight? Not any more than I allow myself to be treated. As in I may or may not do something because of fear I weigh too much, stuff like that.

I think jawsmom said it very well.

LovesBassets
09-08-2005, 06:58 PM
I never felt like strangers judged me because of my weight. What really bothered me was when people I know judged me. The biggest culprits in this were my family members -- my Mom and her two sisters are all skinny as heck (2 out of 3 due to anorexic issues) -- and for some weird reason, being "fit" is like some kind of wacko status symbol in my family. It's really the weirdest thing. I have an uncle who, every time he sees me, hugs me and then feels my waist line. He's done this FOREVER -- since I was 13 years old, I swear. It's not anything creepy or "bad," it's just what he does to everyone in the family. After he "measures me" :dizzy:, he either (a) compliments me wildly on my figure, or (b) says nothing. Which (of course) means "Hmmm...you're too fat so you don't get a compliment today." Another thing my female family members do is the dreaded Up And Down Look when you know they're checking you out but they don't say a darn thing. I had an old high school friend do this to me many years ago (when I was probably close to 200 lbs). He studied me up and down -- with his eyes hovering around my hips and belly -- and I could see the judgment in his eyes. I know he was thinking "Holy smokes! What HAPPENED to her?" People don't actually have to say anything to hurt you. You can see the judgments in their eyes sometimes.

wip
09-08-2005, 07:33 PM
Personally I don't think I've been judged by my size by anyone other than my family. Not anorexic but messed up nonetheless.

irishgreengables
09-08-2005, 08:44 PM
Well the update is that this person wrote me an email saying that she has a "gut feeling" about me and has decided she doesn't want to be my friend. Seriously. I felt like I was back in the 6th grade. So, I think it is not size-ism, but definitely an issue she has. The sad thing is that I even had to question whether or not it was size-ism. Or whether or not size-ism even exists.

You rresponses are all quite thought provoking though. I appreciate them.

missaprylj
09-08-2005, 10:57 PM
Hmmm.... I've never really thought about it that way.

When I hear size-ism, I think about people being rude to me because of my size; and yes, that does happen. A lot.

But I also agree, that often I am just self-conscious so it is a little paranoia on my part.

TakinBabySteps
09-09-2005, 01:38 AM
I don't think that I have experienced it, besides by my own family, some of whom have their own serious issues. But then again, I can't say that I've ever judged myself on my weight and I act like myself, regardless of what size I am. I think a lot of what you get from people is the vibes you put out....I try to be kind, polite & sincere and that is mostly what I get back from people.

SwimGirl
09-09-2005, 01:45 AM
Size-ism really bothers me, but I fall into the stereotype though... because I work retail and we hire based on looks. Partly the person needs to fit in the clothes (not an issue in my store, we got size 3 to size 24), but my last job we ONLY hired people over a size 14 (it was a plus size store14-32). You want your employees to be walking advertisements. I dunno, I guess it'll always exist..

-Aimee

jillybean720
09-09-2005, 09:30 AM
In this case, it sounds like the woman is a bit of a psycho (especially after that email--what the heck?!), so I would just chalk her comments up to sheer ignorance and, well, stupidity :p

As for sizeism in general, I'm sure it exists to some extent, but I think some people also make it into a much bigger deal than it actually is. I read somewhere (of course I don't remember where) about a study that was done with single women who were dating and had been rejected by the men for a second date. Almost all of the overweight women in the study blamed their weight as the reason for no second date, while the thinner women named other causes (incompatibility, different values, different interests, etc.). I thought that was very interesting--just goes to show that for a lot of us, we jump to the conclusion that we are treated badly based solely on our weight.

Personally, the only time I can ever remember being singled out for my weight was in school (yup, all the way K-12) when classmates made fun of me for being fat. In the real world, however, I don't think it's ever been an issue. I think if you carry your head high enough and feel that you are worth being treated like a human, then they will treat you as such. It's when we feel less valuable because of our size that others can sense our insecurity (body language, tone of voice, and choice of words can send these signals), and when they sense it, they strike!

Sure, guys never hit on me like they hit on my thinner friends in college, but that's basic instinct--men have been proven to be more physically attracted to women with a certain hip-to-waist ratio (which explains why even some heavy women with just the right proportions still get hit on often!). Since my hips and waist just kinda bulge into one round mass, I'm pretty sure I don't quite have that ratio ;)

I'm not saying sizeism doesn't exist at all. Sure, there are jerks out there who believe that fat people are less worthy than others. There are ignorant a$$es who think that everyone is fat simply because they are lazy and too stupid to do anything about it. I have read plenty from these types of people on various message boards online. However, having been 250+ for the entire duration of my adult life, I have never had trouble getting jobs in the service industry (retail--in a shoe store, though, so I could still wear the merchandise ;) --restaurants, self-storage, movie theaters), nor have I had trouble finding good office jobs. I HAVE noticed that I feel much more at ease when I go to a job interview and am interviewed by a woman instead of a man. I get all nervous when the interviewer is a man, and I can feel that difference in myself, so it's no wonder that both of my office jobs had women who interviewed and hired me--can't blame the men for not hiring me because I was babbling nervously in an interview--had nothing to do with my weight!

So yeah, I think it's our own state of mind that is really the culprit a lot of times. Next time someone is mean to you in a store or restaurant, notice that they are mean to other people, too, or notice that maybe you seemed overly defensive or assertive when you spoke to them first. Just my two cents (or three or four, I suppose, since this was rather lengthy :dizzy: ).

dragonwoman64
09-09-2005, 02:17 PM
Well the update is that this person wrote me an email saying that she has a "gut feeling" about me and has decided she doesn't want to be my friend.


From what you've described, I'd say count yourself lucky that she's gone.

I agree with Jill on lots of her points.

I did have a couple of blatant experiences of size-ism in San Francisco with job interviews, and with a marketing firm here in New York. I was around 300 lbs (5'9") for all of the above. That said, I've also gotten several very good jobs I've applied for at the same size.

Usually those people that are so nasty have something nasty going on in their lives and are taking it out on other people (someone who they may see as "weaker" or less likely to defend themselves usually). It's not always a conscious act, I think people do it instinctually all the time.

I have to say that uncle who measures your waist needs a little help with his boundaries in my opinion. I mean, if it were your daughter, wouldn't you object to his doing that to her? Just looking at it from the standpoint of self esteem.

boiaby
09-09-2005, 03:52 PM
I believe that size-ism exists, no doubt about it. But I can't say for sure if I've ever been personally affected by it or not. I think it's mostly been a perception on my part due to my own insecurities because I'm not in an environment where such a thing would come into play very often. (i.e. retail, etc.) My most memorable run-ins about my size came from school bullies and the catty little "popular" girls, whom we all detest so much! But, to the best of my knowledge, I've never experienced real size-ism in a professional environment. And if I did, I'm sort of glad I didn't recognize it because I know it would have simply crushed me.

As for the psycho co-worker? Blow that freaky chick off! She's got bigger problems than you know!

Beverly

LovesBassets
09-09-2005, 04:24 PM
I have to say that uncle who measures your waist needs a little help with his boundaries in my opinion.

Agreed. This is the same guy who tried to change my grandmother's will while she was in a nursing home suffering from Alzheimers. He wanted his family to get more money when she died. Boundaries are a mega-issue for him.

Jen415
09-09-2005, 04:50 PM
Size-ism really bothers me, but I fall into the stereotype though... because I work retail and we hire based on looks. Partly the person needs to fit in the clothes (not an issue in my store, we got size 3 to size 24), but my last job we ONLY hired people over a size 14 (it was a plus size store14-32). You want your employees to be walking advertisements. I dunno, I guess it'll always exist..

-Aimee

I dunno Aimee....I would feel weird buying my size 24 jeans from a size 4 woman...just me personally I guess.

dragonwoman64
09-10-2005, 06:33 PM
Agreed. This is the same guy who tried to change my grandmother's will while she was in a nursing home suffering from Alzheimers. He wanted his family to get more money when she died. Boundaries are a mega-issue for him.

yuck. seems like most families I've come across have at least one character like that!