Unexpected Gains: Being Overweight Buffers Asian Americans From Prejudice Against Foreigners
© The Author(s) 2017
Can being overweight, a factor that commonly leads to stigmatization, ironically buffer some people from race-based assumptions about who is American? In 10 studies, participants were shown portraits that were edited to make the photographed person appear either overweight (body mass index, or BMI > 25) or normal weight (BMI < 25). A meta-analysis of these studies revealed that overweight Asian individuals were perceived as significantly more American than normal-weight versions of the same people, whereas this was not true for White, Black, or Latino individuals. A second meta-analysis showed that overweight Asian men were perceived as less likely to be in the United States without documentation than their normal-weight counterparts. A final study demonstrated that weight stereotypes about presumed countries of origin shape who is considered American. Taken together, these studies demonstrate that perceptions of nationality are malleable and that perceived race and body shape interact to inform these judgments.
This research was supported by National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships awarded to C. Handron and T. A. Kirby. J. Wang was supported by a Western Washington University Faculty Research Grant and The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues Grants-in-Aid program.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from SAGE Publications via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 28 (9), pp. 1214 - 1227
Place of publication