Photo: Malingering via flickr
A jury is more likely to believe an overweight woman is guilty than a lean one, a new Yale University study suggests.The Yale Rudd centre for Food Policy & Obesity conducted a mock trial online and asked 471 adults, who were acting as jurors, to look at pictures of four defendants: a skinny man, an obese man, a skinny woman, and an obese woman, according to a news release from the school.
The men in the study rated the obese woman defendant as guiltier than the skinny woman, while the female participants judged the two women defendants equally regardless of weight.
No bias was shown from either sex toward the obese man or the skinny man.
“Only the obese female defendant was penalised for her weight, a finding that is consistent with research published in the past 20 years that shows obese females face more weight-related stigma than obese males,” the study found.
That finding has prompted the Yale researchers to surmise that weight-based stigmatization is now on par with racial discrimination and is affecting everything from people’s chances at trial to their employment and social interactions.
“The present study identifies yet another setting in which obese persons are vulnerable to bias and discrimination,” the study’s lead author Natasha Schvey said in a statement.
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