Tuesday Jul 27, 2021

Episode 51 - Emotion at Work in Body Difference

How we think or feel about ourselves and how we want others to feel about us can be manifested in the way that we look.  Some aspects about how we look, for example how we style our clothes, hair or accessories are within our control.  Other aspects, for example, our height or the shape of our skeleton, the size of our feet or hands are aspects about which we cannot control (without clinical intervention).  

Body difference and physical appearance are two areas that my guest, Denise Sanderson has trained in and is an advocate for as you will hear in this episode.  Denise is someone that I hugely value in the HR world and she often gets me thinking and so it was a great opportunity to get her on to the podcast.  

Some of the things that Denise shares that really got me thinking include:

  • Is body difference and how someone looks a detriment to their chances of securing jobs or promotion?
  • What are the links between body difference and racism?
  • How has COVID helped and hindered those who have physical differences to the 'norm'?

We go onto discussing how our physical appearance(s) shape how we (and others) feel about ourselves and how we feel about others.  

What I really enjoyed about this podcast is the natural discussion we had and it made me think about things that I had not considered before.  I found Denise to be really engaging and here is a large amount of research and evidence that informs her thinking (and is shared below). 

Your links and references to the key areas and ideas we discussed are below:


Changing the Perfect Picture: an inquiry into body image, Women & Equalities Commision - https://committees.parliament.uk/work/226/changing-the-perfect-picture-an-inquiry-into-body-image/publications/

https://www.uwe.ac.uk/research/centres-and-groups/appearance (Didn’t quote this org, but should have)


Fearing the Black Body: The Racial Origins of Fat Phobia, Sabrina Strings (See Body Positive references below)


Body Happy Kids, Molly Forbes of Body Happy Org https://www.bodyhappyorg.com/


Some supporting charities:


BEAT: beateatingdisorders.org.uk Twitter: @beatED

Mind: mind.org.uk Twitter: @MindCharity

Changing Faces: https://www.changingfaces.org.uk/ Twitter: @FaceEquality


Denise's blogs:




HR articles:

https://www.personneltoday.com/hr/fattism-at-work-is-still-a-prevalent-problem/ containing...




Mental Health Awareness Week, 2019:



The salary impact:






Check out on social media:

A few additional references (I think) I made

Lindo Bacon

Natasha Devon




Other articles:


Body Positivity’s history - https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/articles/z2w7dp3

Black and Body Positive - https://zenerations.org/2020/08/21/the-black-history-of-the-body-positive-movement/


Bonus: Denise's alternative view on BMI, as she calls it a “Bullshit Measuring Index” - BMI (referenced as an issue in the W&EC report…)





More from Denise:

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/denisesanderson/?originalSubdomain=uk

Twitter: @_BodyConfidence or @DamsonHR

Instagram: bodyconfidencecards_db

Facebook group: Body Confidence Card Club


Follow us on Instagram for exclusive Podcast updates! https://www.instagram.com/emotionatworkpodcast/  

Learn more about Emotion at Work: https://www.emotionatwork.co.uk  

Connect with Phil: https://www.linkedin.com/in/phil-willcox-02013425/  

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