There’s a great post over at The F-Word today from Abby O’Reilly on workplace discrimination towards overweight women, or women who are perceived as larger than whatever standards patriarchy decides to arbitrarily put in place. This is something I’ve been thinking a lot about recently, as I’m running the hellish gauntlet of job applications. In the past, I’ve largely worked for local governments, charities and not-for-profit organisations, and I think, to a certain extent, I’ve been protected from this kind of bullshit (although obviously I’m not saying that it doesn’t exist in these sort of places). But I’m just about to apply for a job with a publisher that is for profit. And I’m most definitely a size 16.
I have struggled with my weight for years, as I think I’ve mentioned on here before. However, recently I’ve been working through Fat Is A Feminist Issue with the Compulsive Eating Workshop I set up at Sussex Uni. and I actually think I might be losing a little weight. It doesn’t really matter to me, though. I am, for the first time in my life, actually starting to genuinely think I look good. It’s been a slow, painful struggle. Did I mention slow? Sometimes it feels as if you’re taking three steps forward and then being slingshotted a mile back, but starting to accept and maybe even love my body is what I’m concentrating on right now.
If I don’t get this job, I think I will inevitably wonder why, especially as I am very well qualified. Was it because I’m not a size 8 beauty? I’ll never know, and perhaps it’s not worth torturing myself. I’ve not been passed up for many jobs after the interview stage, as Abby O’Reilly has, and so probably need a few more refusals to really start getting worried about my income.
Have any of you guys suffered instances of discrimination at work based on your physical appearance?