Body Image in the Workplace Analyzed Through Natural, Applied, and Social Science Lenses

Body appearance in the workplace influences not just an individual’s career, but also their mental health. Throughout this essay there will be examples of how this is correlated to brain activity through biology and psychology. Including showing the influence of body appearance through technology and statistics provided that provide relevance to body appearance that an individual cannot be control. The issue of body appearance in the workplace will be looked at through the natural and applied science lens and through the social science lens.

Natural and Applied Science The natural and applied science lenses provide the benefit of looking at the perspective of the physical world and how it influences humanity. Natural science is associated with biology, chemistry, and physics, while the applied sciences are associated with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. “Together these fields explore the questions and curiosities humans have been pondering for ages, and scientists often develop questions and use a scientific process—the scientific method—to describe, predict, and observe the natural world” (SNHU, n.

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d.). The scientific method is a way scientist create a procedure for testing a scientific hypothesis.

When studying body appearance at work through the natural science lens through biology, the study of the brain is shown to greatly influence how an individual perceives their own body image. Body image has a profound influence over someone’s career in the workplace, and self-esteem effects how an individual presents themselves at work. The area of the brain that has been found to influence how one views their own body appearance is the insular cortex.

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“Subsequent research findings have implicated the insula in an overwhelming variety of functions ranging from sensory processing to representing feelings and emotions, autonomical and motor control, risk prediction and decision-making, bodily- and self-awareness, and complex social functions like empathy” (Gorgolla, 2017). At a cellular level a human’s body is created from 23 chromosomes and plays a key role in how an individual’s body is shaped. It is important for an organization to understand the biology behind body appearance of a teammate and judging based off their appearance, for hair and body weight are affected by genetics. The applied science lens provides the mathematics and technology behind how body appearance in an organization plays a role in someone’s career.

“In the U.S. population, about 14.5 percent of all men are six feet or over. Among CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, that number is 58 percent. The CEO phenomenon suggests that people favor tall people” (Meyer, 2009). That is a staggering statistic of CEOs that are taller than the average American male, and shows how body appearance alone can have an impact on a career. Through technology, social media has had an influence as to how one views their own body and trying to achieve the perfect body. How technology is influencing how an individual perceives their own body does not stop when they arrive at work. “Social media can negatively affect body image because users are typically exposed to thin, fit, and “idealized” body types and will often compare themselves to peers and celebrities” (Heger, 2020). Understanding the importance of body appearance is escalated once arriving to a work environment, where it has a direct influence on one’s career and income.

Organizations can assist in resolving body appearance issues by understand the natural and applied sciences to assist in eliminating unconscious bias towards individuals. Looking at body appearance in the workplace through the science lens provides the knowledge that everyone has their own unique body, and their genetics, insular cortex, and social media The social science lens studies society, people, and their relationships through multiple different mediums such as psychology, economics, geography, or sociology. Body appearance in the workplace and how people are judge effects numerous aspects of an individual’s life. “In the workplace, the way you look can be more important than the merit of your work to some supervisors, while coworkers can treat you differently if you don’t fit into their idea of professional appearances” (Schwantes, 2019). This form of discrimination can include visible tattoos, different hairstyles, what has been determined as professional dress, and overweight or underweight individuals. Looking at it from a psychology aspect, individuals judged based off body appearance in the workplace can suffer from low self-esteem. This can create numerous issues from depression to anxiety to eating disorders, all stemming from the work environment. Body presentation in the work environment can impact any individual, depending on the organization and their level of acceptance.

“For some individuals, a work environment can play a tremendous role in body image or how one sees and observes their own body” (Karges, 2015). How an individual is viewed by their leaders can have a direct impact on their careers and how their view themselves in society. Through the social lens, it enhances the social issue of what society is portraying as the ideal body appearance and affects how individuals are looked at in the workplace. If an organization only looks for certain body appearances, with the lack of diversity in the workforce, decisions will not be made with well-rounded opinions. If there is no consistent standard in the work environment on body appearance and what one manager deems unacceptable, another might see as a strong way to connect with the younger generation. Companies are beginning to realize the strong ties between their culture, societies norms, and teammate retention.

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Body Image in the Workplace Analyzed Through Natural, Applied, and Social Science Lenses. (2022, Sep 20). Retrieved from

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