Most ladies can agree that a man in a uniform is always attractive. Whether he is a firefighter, businessman, police officer, or in the military, that uniform drives their attractiveness so high up. And most of the time, when anyone thinks about men in these roles, they think of tall, dark and handsome with six-pack abs that are well-toned and rock-hard. When many women think of businessmen, they automatically think about GQ, or when they think about firefighters, the image of “the sexy firemen” pops into their mind. But what about our bigger men in uniforms?
Did you know that you can legally be fired for being bigger? According to AOL, legally, if you are obese, you might be protected under the Americans with Disabilities act, however, if you are just on the curvier side, you can be fired or employers by refuse to hire you. In the military, according to Slate Magazine, if a man is 27 years old or younger, they must have a body-fat percentage below 26%. Is it really fair to turn away willing young men from serving our country because they are curvy? That doesn’t stop employers from rejecting individuals.
AARP wrote an article where Rebecca Puhl, director of research at Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity said, “In the workplace, it results in inequitable hiring practices, prejudice from employers, lower wages, discriminatory action and wrongful termination.” Curvy men are being discriminated for being big in almost every industry. Those sexy firemen, military men, businessmen and police officers are there, and they aren’t being discriminated against.
Although the military is a place where you think of all men to be fit, that is not necessarily the case. And even though they have rigorous training, not all of the men there are comfortable in their skin. According to Erik Gunderson, a researcher from the U.S. Navy Neuropsychiatric Research Unit, more than sixty percent of men in the navy are dissatisfied with their body weight.
Discrimination is not only race these days. Men and women are being discriminated against because of their body size no matter how qualified they are for the jobs they apply for. It’s time we stop only thinking about men in uniform as handsome men with chiseled abs, but when real men, who have curves, and who want to help our country. Be the one to stand up for curvy men, and help stop this discrimination.
Gunderson, E. (n.d.). Body Size, Self Evaluation and Military Effective. Retrieved December 3, 2014. <http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/603578.pdf>
Everyone wants to have friends. The best places to make friends are social gatherings or at the work place. However, how can you make friends if no one is looking at you; if you are being ignored; if you are invisible? Most people are guilty of the fact that their first judgment about someone is their looks. I’m embarrassed to say that I myself, when having to be in group assignments, or picking partners, always lean towards the more appealing person. Skinnier people, regardless of their actual beauty, are always considered more beautiful than curvy women.
A blog called, The Body Image Project lets individuals submit personal stories which the blog posts on their behalf, anonymously. One particular twenty-one year old says, “I can trace my weight gain to high school – sixteen and at a new school where I ended up a very lonely girl; no one talked to or bothered to learn my name. I became completely sedentary when the depression of being invisible hit.” Depression is so prevalent in high school. Teenagers are so mean to each other. If you aren’t pretty and popular, you are not considered cool. If you are not cool then no one is going to talk to you. If no one talks to you then you’re an outcast. If you are an outcast then depression, weight gain, and/or psychological illnesses may develop
A forty-five year old says, “…I’ll be somewhere and see how younger and much thinner women get all the attention. They may even be not as attractive, they can have a not-so-pleasant personality even, but if they’re thin, they will always get looked at first – both in social gatherings or on the job.” When it comes to making friends or getting a job offer, the skinnier, more beautiful individual will most likely get the job over the curvier individual. In the business world, it is known that the taller you are and the better you look, the more likely you’ll get the position. How is that fair?
Many people are guilty of judging people by their appearance, myself included. Whether it is at a social gathering or at the business place, we naturally gravitate to the more beautiful people. It has now become our job and responsibility to stop this judgment. Just because someone is curvier, it doesn’t mean they are less competent or have a lesser personality.
Cawley, J. (2003, January). The Impact of Obesity on Wages. Retrieved November 16, 2014, from http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/3559022?uid=3739936&uid=2134&uid=2486310823&uid=2&uid=70&uid=3&uid=2486310813&uid=3739256&uid=60&sid=21105214059653
Men experience the same issues that women do. However, men do not talk about their feelings as much as women, so many of their issues go unknown and hidden. Young boys who are considered bigger than their classmates and peers go through a lot of issues dealing with their weight. Many are also teased and/or uncomfortable in their own skin.
Julie Z, had an interview with Michael Kimmel, author of Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men. During the interview about Kimmel’s book, Julie asks Kimmel to discuss how men and women define their masculinity/ femininity through their own body images. When people read the headline, “Women Dissatisfied With Their Bodies,” Kimmel says the underlying headline actually is, “Men Tend To See Themselves As Just About Perfect.” Kimmel then continues to say, “We no longer see our bodies as just about perfect. We are at work on our bodies, also. We go to the gym, we work out, we take steroids.” Younger boys now have so much pressure to be good at sports in order to prove how masculine they are. If they are bigger and not as muscular as others, their insecurities could sometimes kidnap them from being able to play with their friends.
Almost all kids play sports when they’re young. Did you know that a lot of boys who are bigger feel self conscious playing sports with skinnier/more fit guys? A senior from University Michigan states, “Gym class was tough, I was always out of shape. It never really interfered in team events or sporting but there was a sense of insecurity that spawned from the company around me.” Although his insecurities did not affect his playing, he still stated that,“it has always been an extremely pressing concern in my mind.” When asked how he felt about playing shirts vs. skins, this student stated he would have rather sat out then being a part of the game.
When Prateek Gupta, a junior from Washington University in St. Louis was asked the question, “Were you self conscious because of what your friends thought about you?”, he quickly answered with, “Definitely.” Although he was not uncomfortable playing sports in general, he also attempted to avoid shirts vs. skins sports games at all times possible.
Both of these college students say that they are no longer affected by what others think about their body. However, while growing up, their body image was something they continuously thought about and felt embarrassed of. This shame affected the way they associated with their friends. Adolescence is a time that all teenagers and pre-teens are concerned about their body- not just girls. Boys have just as many anxieties and worries about their body image, however they are not spoken for.
The idea of “skinny is beautiful” becomes ingrained in children’s minds at such young ages. Disney Princesses could be one reason for this phenomenon. All of the Disney Princesses that are beloved by the world are are tall, skinny and beautiful. From these Disney movies, many young individuals learn that the only way to receive a boy’s attention and be happy is to be beautiful. According to the portrayals in these movies, being “beautiful” is defined as being thin. Rebecca Sternberg wrote an article about “the Disney Effect” and talks about the fact that the first six Disney princess that were created were all slim, tall. beautiful girls.
Research shows that girls expressed greater body image dissatisfaction scores after they watch Disney Movies. In all of the fairy tales that we have been told, the heroic prince and princess are always portrayed as beautiful and “good”, however the evil characters are perceived as ugly and mean, (Asawarachan, 2013). In most of the Disney movies, the beautiful characters are never shown to be “bad”. Disney characters help to uphold the stereotype of “what is beautiful is good” (Bazzini, Curtin, Joslin, Regan & Martz, 2010). Ursula from The Little Mermaid, is an evil octopus who tries to steal King Triton’s throne. Her character is not only ugly, but is also fat. This just reinforces to children that you will only be liked if you are skinny and beautiful.
Joanna Morelli, a junior at James Madison University, shared with me her view on Disney’s portrayal of princesses. She stated that Disney princesses give children an unrealistic expectation of beauty and said, “I’ve always wanted to have Ariel’s body. Even in middle school I was still convinced that was the perfect body.” She then went on to tell me how she believed Disney Princess movies contain many bad values, therefore will not allow her children watch these movies in the future. These movies have many negative impacts on young children- especially when it comes to body issues. Lastly she says, “In order to get a realistic view of body image, people need to distance themselves from media and movies. Coming to college has definitely helped me broaden my views.”
The influence of these princesses on individuals all over the world is immense. Personally, I have always wanted to have the body of Jasmine. Not only is she pretty, she also is skinny and powerful. Until recently, I have never really noticed how much these beloved Disney Princesses and Princes affect individuals. If just Disney movies can have such long lasting effects on girls and women, what other negative influences are there that we do not even realize exist?
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Bazzini, D., Curtin, L., Joslin, S., Regan, S., & Martz, D. (2010). Do animated Disney characters portray and promote the beauty-goodness stereotype? Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 40(10), 2687-2709. Retrieved October 30, 2014, from http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc271773/m2/1/high_res_d/dissertation.pdf