Now that’s Bold: Melissa McCarthy in the video below reportedly confronted a journalist who said she wasn’t a good actress unless she was allowed to be pretty on camera. McCarthy, famous for her comedic roles in Mike and Molly and others, has also been a very vocal advocate for plus size women in media. She said she didn’t understand why it was an issue since a male actor can be good and not look attractive (video below). We addressed this same issue yesterday discussing both Caitlyn Jenner and Lisa Lamponelli so thought it would be best to address it again, today.
While weight discrimination can occur on record during specific employment events like the selection, training, or promotion process, there are other subtle ways in which the overweight can be mistreated. Workplace hostility, especially workplace harassment, is a common theme discussed by the overweight in the workplace, in general (Johnson, 1995). The overweight have reported bullying and name-calling at the workplace, specifically due to their weight (Wolkinson & Roehling, 2008). Empirical evidence suggests that the overweight commonly face this type of mistreatment due to weight/height and that the prevalence can occur in some cases were more than gender and race discrimination (Puhl, Andreyeva, & Brownell, 2008). One such case involved denigrating written materials as a company employee distributed a calendar containing obese people to other employees (Wolkinson & Roehling, 2007).
Gender and Weight generally interact to create major barriers throughout the work environment. Compared with female participants in a study on stereotypes, male participants wanted to work with obese female targets significantly less than if those roles were reversed (Grant & Mizzi, 2014). The study by Grant and Mizzi focused on stereotypes of overweight female employees. A significant relationship between obesity and negative stereotypes was found, regardless of job type. This had a significant effect on employability ratings, as well, which leads employees to be less desirable. Although, this is in direct contradiction with Haskins and Ransford (1999), who did see certain occupations affect overweight females more directly. The caveat not previously discussed is that those occupations were male-dominated and females in those industries were not valued as much based on their job skills, but on their appearance. The same can be said of a female dominated industry, the airline industry, where women have been historically discriminated against due to their size, regardless of actual size and weight requirements (Lynch, 1996).
What do you think of Melissa’s answer to the critic? Or weight discrimination/attractiveness in the media or workplace? Sound off below!
Johnson, T. (1995). Weight discrimination and hostile work environment: Analysis and implications. Labor Law Journal, 46(8), 486.
Grant, S., & Mizzi, T. (2014). Body weight bias in hiring decisions: Identifying explanatory mechanisms. Social Behavior And Personality, 42(3), 353-370. doi:10.2224/sbp.2014.42.3.353
Haskins, K. M., & Ransford, H. E. (1999). The Relationship Between Weight and Career Payoffs Among Women. Sociological Forum, 14(2), 295-318.
Lynch, D. a. (1996). The heavy issue: weight-based discrimination in the airline industry. Journal Of Air Law & Commerce, 62203-242.
Puhl, R., Andreyeva, T., & Brownell, K. (2008). Perceptions Of Weight Discrimination: Prevalence And Comparison To Race And Gender Discrimination In America. International Journal of Obesity, 32, 992-1000 ; doi:10.1038/ijo.2008.22
Wolkinson, B., & Roehling, M. (2007). The Arbitration of Weight Discrimination Grievances. Dispute Resolution Journal, 62(4), 36-45