thin. Or fat. Or tall. Or petite. Or blond. Or… any other physical attribute.
Prejudice, based on someone’s appearance, is an interesting thing. Let’s start with weight prejudice. Studies show that there is clear bias against very overweight people. And I am sure some of you have experienced it. The reaction can range from just a sideways look when you put cookies in your grocery cart, to a request for a new seat when next to you on an airplane, to not hiring you for a job. But weight bias goes the other way too. Against thin people. Sometimes we look at them and hate them for being what we aren’t. We curse the genetic lottery that surely graced them with the fast metabolism that we lack. Or we assume they can’t have any issues with food or struggles in life.
I’m short. Does this mean I must have a Napoleon complex? Tall people earn more money, are more likely to advance in the workplace, and are more likely to become President of the US! And everyone assumes that just because you’re tall you must play basketball.
Do you look at a blond woman and think she has more fun? Or that she is as dumb as the classic jokes? I’m a redhead… I can’t tell you how many times people have commented that I must have a fiery temper. I DO NOT! (Kidding.) Several famous actresses have dyed their hair for roles – some go blond to get the sexy girl parts; some go brunette to get the serious girl parts. Does Hollywood have it right that we can’t see past hair color to the woman inside?
And what about our biases based on how attractive (or unattractive ) a person is. Many books are written on the subject of attractive people getting more in life. Not just more money and better jobs, but even better service in a store.
Have you ever looked at someone and known you wouldn’t like her just because of her appearance? Was she too pretty, too sloppy, too expensively dressed, too made up? Did you get to know her anyways? I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes I look at someone and make a judgment. Especially if she is beautiful and looks like she would have snubbed me in high school – a former-cheerleader with her designer jeans and purse, fabulous shoes, perfectly coiffed hair, gleaming white teeth in a tan face that never knew a pimple; perfect from head to toe. But some of my best friends wouldn’t have passed my initial “first impression” bias test so I am learning to suspend judgment.
So please don’t hate me when I’m skinny. Or stop reading. Overweight or at goal, fat or thin – don’t think we can’t relate and share experiences because we look different. The outside package doesn’t change the person on the inside. But I sure am looking forward to the outer change:)