When a reader wrote in to Elle's advice columnist, E. Jean, stating that she'd overheard her managers mocking her weight and feared that her size was holding her back at work, E. Jean responded with a whole bunch of B.S.:
The reader, "Overweight and Overlooked," wrote in wondering if her weight was, indeed, preventing her from receiving a promotion, a fear instilled in her after she'd heard one of her managers saying the following about her: "She's so fat, I don't think she'll get promoted. Ever."
There were a number of answers E. Jean could have given to this reader, the most obvious being, "Get the fuck out that office and go work somewhere where people have some common decency and respect for their co-workers," but E. Jean chose to side with the manager, admitting that the "truth" she was about to drop would be "giving in to the fat-phobic culture." She then does just that by bringing up some bullshit statistics about physicians and their negative views of obese patients, which has nothing to do with this woman's particular work situation except it helps E. Jean justify the managers blatant fat-shaming, which she then followed up with this vague, fear-mongering statement: "And these are only the studies of physicians' prejudices. You can imagine what people less educated about human anatomy might believe." You don't say!
"Yes, you're probably being held back because of your size," E. Jean notes, "And being held back because of your size is stressful. And when you're stressed, it's difficult to perform your best at work. Lose the weight. You don't need to become a sample size, ya know, just look and feel fit." Ah yes. You're not getting ahead at work, Fatty, because you're stressed about your size. And you can't possibly "look and feel fit" unless you fall into a certain Elle-approved weight range, you know? And going on a diet with the specific purpose of focusing on your size in order to please others, including your dipshit boss, is totally going to alleviate that stress, for everyone knows that dieting and validating other people's fat-shaming is a totally stress-free adventure, right, y'all? Doesn't everyone perform best at work when they're restricting their intake and dealing with hunger, low blood sugar, and the constant, gnawing feeling that if you don't fit a certain physical standard, you'll be mocked by your superiors and possibly fired? Party over here, am I right, ladies?
In a final twist of irony, E. Jean recommends Crystal Renn's memoir, Hungry, which is all about how Renn almost starved herself to death in the name of her career, but then found success when she embraced her body and worked in a market that celebrated her curves instead of sneering at them. I hope "Overweight and Overlooked" does read that book, actually. And when she's finished, I hope she returns to E. Jean's advice and gives her eyes a nice workout by rolling them over and over again.