Plus-size women are everywhere, from magazine covers to runway shows. But new research found that the heavier a woman is, the harder it is to land a job.
To conduct the study, researchers modified the faces of thin men and women to make them look heavier:
The cheeks are fuller, and the neck is bigger, but the changes are subtle. (All of the photos in the study were of white people to remove race as a potential factor, but we’d be interested to see if the findings differed with a diverse group of images.) Scientists showed participants each photo separately, plus they added in diversions—people with tattoos or piercings to test for other biases.
What they found was not encouraging. Participants said they were more likely to hire women when they appeared thinner, especially in customer-facing jobs (like waiters or receptionists). Men didn’t face the same type of discrimination. While this study focused on service jobs, it suggests that women face more weight-related judgment in the workplace, which is not cool at all.