Originally Posted by Agota
There really is a lot of hidden issues when it comes to obese women in high positions. There are people who are obese due to an illness, but I'm not talking about these cases now, ok? In general, you can read a lot from obesity. First, if a person is obese (I mean obese, not 5kg overweight), they clearly don't regard their health as important, which consequently often signals that they have a poor self-image and are not very serious about their own well-being. Second, the discipline issue is not that far away from the truth, because I don't think that there are many people who make a conscious choice to stay obese although they have all the discipline and anything else they'd need to get in shape. Third, obesity often comes from excessive food consumption (..I remember I asked why so obese people in US stay obese, because it's just plain dangerous health-wise and my american friend explained me that they think that "it's genetic" and continue to eat those enormous supersize junk portions we don't even have in Europe) and excessive food consumption signalizes unresolved emotional issues. When you add all this together, it isn't really the image of most desirable CEO for a company, is it? It doesn't even have to be true about that particular person, but because it's true in general, most people will get similar impression.
These are the sort of judgments people do make though! When I was obese (and I hit a BMI of over 35 at my heaviest), I was very conscious of my ill-health but was super-achieving at the time, completed my PhD in space physics, senior manager working very long hours and so on, carrying a huge stress burden with no spare mental capacity to devote to dieting. Yet I knew people were making these judgments about me, consciously or otherwise.
Now I am normal weight (BMI currently 23-24), I know people who have never met me before and don't know I was ever fat, see me now in a business suit and I 'look' competent. Yet I am no more competent than I was before, I just 'look' it! It's interesting to notice how I am received and perceived!
As I said, here in Egypt, noone gives a fig about how big a woman is in terms of judging her competence!