By: Courtney Mina
Thanks to feminism and the modern-day power of the female will, women are now thriving in the workplace. We have gone from strictly leading a domestic life at home, to being able to do whatever we damn well want to. And even though there are many of us who still thrive being domestic goddesses, the rest of us have found our purpose and calling in being a part of the workplace environment. And although we may have been taught that “women can do anything men can do”, we have also been taught that fat women can’t do everything thin women can do, and the issue of our “size” can sometimes creep into our lives at work. This notion sometimes tends to hold us back at work as we compromise ourselves.
When I was young and started looking for a real job (babysitting wasn’t cutting it anymore), I really wanted to work in the fashion and beauty industry. I would have loved to have helped sell beautiful clothes at one of the hip and trendy stores in the mall. I dreamed of working at the makeup counter for one of the expensive, popular cosmetic brands. I always felt a pull, a calling towards the world of fashion and beauty. But as a plus-size girl, I felt my dreams crushed with the hammer of reality: I was fat, and fat people couldn’t work in the beauty industry.
I mean, why even bother trying to apply for a job that would end up picking a thinner, “prettier” girl over me? It didn’t help matters at all when one of my friends (who did happen to work at one of these hip and trendy clothing stores) informed me that her manager wanted her staff to write “attractive” on resumes of people who came in looking for a job, based on what they looked like. That unfortunately confirmed my suspicions, and a deflated me began looking for a job where my appearance wouldn’t matter. I ended up working in a restaurant kitchen for a time, hidden away behind all the grease and steam where I figured I belonged.
I was miserable. My heart wasn’t in it, and I felt my talents and my passions being completely wasted. After a time, I got tired of compromising. I was fed up with not allowing myself to follow my dreams just because of my size. I was better suited in the world of fashion and beauty. That was the beginning for me of being uncompromising at work. I quit the lifeless kitchen hell I was in and immediately handed in my resumes to all of the places I truly wanted to work. And you know what? I got a fashion job right away, where I absolutely thrived and was completely in my element. The fire was finally lit, and I haven’t left that world since. It was a huge life lesson for me to learn: when it comes to work, be an uncompromising woman, and follow your passion.