Marketing Idea No. 287: Is your body image holding you back?

A 2004 study by Cornell University Associate Professor John Cawley found that when the average white woman puts on an additional 64 pounds, her wages drop 9%. Obviously for non-white women this drop tends to be much starker. In another study, Charles Baum, of Middle Tennessee State University, also reported in the journal Health Economics that obesity could lower a woman’s annual earnings by as much as 6.2% and a man’s by as much as 2.3%.

A more obvious place to look for discrimination would be the recruitment interview itself. Almost all recruitment decisions are made based on a shallow first impression. People who are not comfortable with their body type usually project less confidence in interviews. Moreover there is scarcity of really fashionable plus size clothing. All these factors taken together creates a hurdle that is too big for some people to overcome and the breeding ground of discrimination against body type.

A similar trait to body type discrimination would be the necessity to look young and good looking. It was previously believed that the obsession for anti-aging drugs and cosmetics was limited to the bored housewives who have the money and pretty much nothing to do except spend it on themselves. But during a pan Asian research, this commonly held perception was challenged as it turns out Asian women think that to land a good job, you need to look young; preferably not over 30. In that same research 64% Chinese women said that looking young is important to land a good job.

It’s a startlingly odd but true realization. The glass ceiling might be not just made of glass, but perception towards your body image.

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