We are all biased in someway. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Biases can be considered the mental shortcuts we take to help us make sense of the world. Unfortunately these biases can make it harder for some people to progress in life or to experience the same opportunities offered to others.
Fatness and bias
There are so many elements of bias and discrimination out there. I will run the risk of coming across as insensitive if I talk about something I don’t full comprehend. So I will talk about bias from my own perspective, I once was really obese. Like BMI of 47 category 3 morbidly obese, I’m now at a borderline overweight/obese BMI of 30:
Our society has a large amount of bias against fat people. You only have to watch the latest news article about the obesity epidemic to see how the media shames headless fat people. As a society we are viscerally disgusted with fat people; we think they are lazy, un motivated, poorly educated and the scum of the earth.
Behold the headless fat person you are disgusted over:
Fat people get paid less, are offered less leadership opportunities and are publicly shamed. Often women experience more discrimination because of their weight compared to men.
“As long as we are all terrified of becoming fat, this will go on. Yes, we are terrified. Because we all know how fat people are treated in this society.”https://www.theguardian.com/inequality/2017/aug/30/demoted-dismissed-weight-size-ceiling-work-discrimination
When I was fatter and I saw another fat person I would think to myself, “well, at least I’m not that fat”. I would wrap myself up in my own irrational thinking and find comfort in not feeling, “that fat”. Now that I’m smaller my mindset has changed. I am completely disgusted with how much my mindset has changed. I now think the same nasty knee jerk reaction thoughts as everyone else, “eww, gross, how can they let themselves get that big?”. I try to balance that with empathy but I hate how easy these thoughts come now.
I changed one aspect of my appearance
The weight loss surgery (gastric sleeve) I had probably has nearly paid for itself in just the increased earning potential gained from losing weight. On top of the improvement of quality of life later on down the track too. I can’t say for certain but the more I read about bias the more it seems like it was worth it. Other parts of my appearance are a little more challenging to alter. Most people aren’t as lucky as me to be in a situation where they have the financial gains to go through what I did. Most fat people are poor.
What will change?
Probably nothing, your career is basically screwed if you are an overweight older black women working in tech. How many more biases can I add there? Not that I’m trying to be grim but the long term prospects don’t look good. Some aspects of our appearance are more within our control than others but many aren’t.
When was the last time you were disgusted by headless fat bodies in the news?