Income equality continues to be a hot topic in the United States, where all people supposedly have the same rights but women still make $0.70 on the dollar of a man. Is that discrimination? It would appear so, but does this discrimination occur only among women? And does it only happen in the United States?
Well, a new study suggests that income discrimination may go far deeper than that. Apparently, size does matter; and, apparently, it happens on both sides of the pond.
Lead study author Timothy Frayling says, “There is something about being fatter or being shorter in itself that leads to poor outcomes.” The study, published in the British Medical Journal, shows that height appears to be linked with financial success: those who are taller and thinner tend to have higher socioeconomic status than those who are shorter and fatter.
The University of Exeter professor of human genetics goes on to say, though, that the study has not investigated the cause of this link, only that one exists. He suggests, perhaps, modern society’s stereotypes regarding ideal body shape and size could play a major role in this.
He notes, “There are conscious and subconscious biases about how someone looks. Does this factor into employment discrimination when they are interviewed for jobs or try to move up the career ladder? Social discrimination when it comes to choosing mates?”
He also argues that, perhaps, the discrimination may be brought upon by self: people may have low self-esteem or depression issues based on their own understanding of society’s ideals, therefore resulting in a lesser social interaction.
But while the study might find some association, Lenox Hill Hospital (NYC) preventive cardiologist Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum warns, “I don’t want people to get [the message] that what they are born with is what they’re stuck with.”
She attests, “I wouldn’t take this study too seriously, but understand that how you’re perceived makes a difference,” because how you look may trigger an unconscious bias in others.
In conclusion, the researchers say, “These findings have important social and health implications, supporting evidence that overweight people, especially women, are at a disadvantage and that taller people, especially men, are at an advantage.”