I had to visit the bank (well a couple of banks and branches) recently, and noticed that there were almost no fat women employed. At least none were visible at the time of my visits. Also most of them (I don’t remember seeing any one) were not hijabis and they were also quite young and pretty. Strange observation right? It doesn’t matter? Right? These were all of course private banks and one was a global bank.
My problem isn’t discrimination (if it exists), but with social conditioning. We mostly associate the banking industry with efficiency, punctuality and professionalism. Government banks (like El Ahly) employ women, who are usually old, fat and veiled. I am sorry if I am being blunt. The real problem is that government banks are also associated with slowness, stupidity, rudeness and being dowdy.
The problem is that with time, eventually people start associating women who work at government banks with these negative traits and the positive traits from the private banks with young, thin women who do not cover their hair.
Again this is not about discrimination. This is more about what happens when we associate certain traits with what we see on the surface. It worries me that this is always more noticeable with women than men. Because there was quite an equal number of fat and ugly men at both types of banks.
After a while, we start believing that all fat women must be lazy and stupid. They must be lazy and stupid, they can’t get any decent jobs at good banks, they are only accepted at the bad banks. It all happens on the subconscious level.
It makes you think about all the other things that we also associate with traits without thinking. Do we think that fair skinned people are richer and more cultured than darker skinned people? Do we believe that older people are slow and obsolete? Short haired girls must be really boyish? Do we look at mothers who take care of their looks and always look put together and think, oh they must be neglecting their children? Some of these judgements are never spoken aloud. While others just linger in the back of our minds because of being conditioned for so long.
Look around you, what do you see?