It’s bad enough that women have to contend with a glass ceiling that limits their advancement at work, not to mention a wage gap that translates into 73 cents being paid to women for every dollar paid to men—and less for women of colour.
But for women who don’t fit in to society’s confines of acceptable body size, weight stigma is another bias that makes it more challenging to be treated equitably, let alone get ahead.
In Edmonton recently, sociology student Connie Levitsky came face-to-face with weight stigma when the plus-sized clothing retailer Addition Elle fired her.
The reason? Levitsky had described her sales position with the clothing chain on her personal Facebook page as “Conquering the world, one well-dressed fat lady at a time.” Addition Elle told Levitsky that the company objected to the word “fat,” which in today’s thin-obsessed society carries negative and shameful connotations.
However, fat is a label that Levitsky and others in the body-positivity movement have embraced as a way to deconstruct the stigma and to challenge the stereotypes attached to the word. She has no issue with the more technical terms “overweight” and “obese.” But she acknowledges that some people in the fat-acceptance movement are opposed to medical-sounding labels, as they can carry moral undertones add to fat stigma. While problematic, overweight and obese are the only categorical measures used in fat-related research today.
Regardless of the term used—curvy, plus, overweight, obese or fat—size discrimination is a regular occurrence for many people in Canada and throughout much of the world. And women tend to pay the highest price of all…
I’m a versatile, bilingual writer and editor, originally from Toronto, Canada comfortable working with a wide variety of subjects in English and Spanish. My preferred areas of focus are feminism, body image, and psychology, but I have experience writing and editing in areas such as medicine, web design, the American justice system, wind technology, anthropology...