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Obese Women Face Greater Discrimination in Legal System by Male Jurors

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You face a bigger penalty if you are an obese woman on trial. According to a recent study conducted by Yale University, male jurors tend to be harsher to obese women compared to their leaner counterparts. The results go to show that we are still a fat phobic society and that women tend to face harsher scrutiny for carrying extra pounds than men.

Researchers took a total of 471 participants and showed them each a picture of four different people: a lean woman, an obese woman, a lean man, and an obese man and asked them to rate on a scale from 1 to 5 each individual's level of guilt of committing check fraud. Male participants were more likely to rate an obese woman as guilty compared to a lean woman.

One of the researcher said that she had read about weight discrimination in office settings, and wondered if the same thing existed in the legal system. Unfortunately, she says that the results weren't suprising given that it is well documented that men tend to be harsher about a woman's looks than other women. She speculates that women tend to have compassion for one another, particularly when it comes to weight, because many women have the experience of dieting and failing several times over to lose or keep weight off. The researchers argue that their results show that there should be anti-discrimination laws on the books for the obese and the director of the National Eating Disorders Association says that it is important to remember that obese people aren't always fat by choice–many suffer from genetic predisposition, medical problems or mental illnesses that lead them to binge eat.