I Might Be Fat, But I Make More Money Than You

Some studies have suggested that obese women are more likely to be paid less than their thin counterparts. However, this is turning out to not be entirely true. It’s now being found that some heavy women are actually making more than thin women because they plan on never having a husband to help them out financially.

So put away that salad, ladies, and grab a donut if you want to make more money. Hell, grab three donuts and a milkshake, too.

An economic paper using UK data found that “weight discrimination we observe in the labor market has its source in an entirely different market – the marriage market.” Once all attributes that contribute to wages were taken in to account, the data resulted in finding:

“That married men and single women both have a wage rate that is positively related to the their Body Mass Index (BMI) – the heavier they are, the higher the wage they are paid. Single men and married women have the opposite experience – they are penalized for their weight — the heavier they are, the lower the wage they are paid.”

Overweight men are not at the same disadvantage as overweight women when it comes to the likelihood of marriage. When was the last time one of the men in your life commented on the sex appeal of an overweight woman? When was the last time someone in this office softly caressed my Zach Galifianakis doll and whispered: “You’re perfect?” The answer to the latter question is about five minutes ago.

The study goes on to show that when it comes to weight there is no issue in preventing either the fat male crowd or the thin male crowd from finding happiness and bliss in holy matrimony. However, this still doesn’t explain why heavier men are being paid more. Perhaps, the more space one takes up, the more obvious they are and more attention is paid to their business skills? Just a thought. Although a possible explanation is: “while being obese may not prevent men from marrying, it does encourage them to work harder to compensate their wives for the fact that they don’t look like the guy in Old Spice ads.” Ah yes, the guy in the Old Spice ads.

We don’t need a study to point out the emphasis that society puts on women being skinny – we have a slew of fashion magazines to prove it – so trying to break down all the reasons why the obese are at such a disadvantage when it comes to marriage is an unnecessary task. But because they’re not first in line to win the approval of a male suitor, at least long enough to get him to the altar, it seems that heavy women are aware of their slim chances at marriage. In recognizing the strong possibility of never having the financial security of a dual income household, they “invest more in their jobs so that they get closer to that standard of living they might have had they married.”

Another thought is that some women may think that in making a high income their chances at landing a fella will also go up. But can love really be bought? Most evidence shows that “men care very little about the income level of a potential” mate.

The end result is that heavy women still end up alone but with the hope that working harder will land them a husband; and while they live this delusional existence, they’ll have enough money for a walk-in closet and hundreds of shoes with which to fill it? There is so much injustice in that statement, I don’t even know where to begin.

Looks like women need to choose their battles when it comes to marriage and money. Is it better to be unmarried, fat and rich; or married, thin and paid less for your slender body? I say reach for a cupcake. Money and shoes will never break your heart, and love can be bought in a box with batteries.

You can reach this post's author, Amanda Chatel, on twitter.
Share This Post:
    • Beth

      I have to comment on this one. All I can say is that you’ve got to be kidding. I mean, really, this is satire right?

      If not, there are a few assumptions underlying the post that are at best, problematic. First is the idea that weight is strictly about willpower. Being overweight does not always mean gorging on cupcakes and doughnuts instead of eating salads. People are fat for many reasons, instead of simply a calories-in-calories-out calculation, and you are furthering the stereotype of overweight people as undisciplined gluttons.

      The second problematic assumption is that being fat automatically disadvantages women in the marriage market to the point that they can reasonably expect not to find a partner. First, this is simply inaccurate. Though being overweight can make it harder to find dates sometimes (I have personally experienced this when going to nightclubs with skinny friends), statistically the vast majority of women (including fat girls) get married. Ever notice how the plus-size wedding dress market is taking off? We aren’t buying those fancy white dresses to wear to the all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet, after all. Further, this assumption is dependent upon an affluent, WASP definition of attractiveness. What about ethnic groups in which curvaceous women are appreciated and sought after?

      The third problematic assumption here is that fat girls have resigned themselves to never landing man, so they work a ton of hours to make up for the lost income, buy vibrators, and cry over their cupcakes and spreadsheets on their sad, dateless nights. (I am not even going to touch the preposterous notion that we would attempt to earn more money to attract some man who wouldn’t want us otherwise.) Have you ever thought that many of the high-earning fat girls are that way because they haven’t spent a whole lot of time dating superficial jerks and obsessing about calories and instead of having been out kicking butt and thinking about things that are meaningful? For that matter, have you ever considered successful career women of all sizes who don’t make decisions based on whether there will be a man around to support them? That’s right. Don’t overlook the converse of this ridiculous assumption: that skinny women are less serious about their careers because they can rely on men to take care of them. Let that one sink in a little bit. The clock just ticked backwards about thirty years.

      As a young professional woman and lifelong fat girl, I just couldn’t let this post go without commenting on it. How many women are going to read this and become discouraged by it? How many ugly stereotypes must we continue to promulgate? In what ways are these ideas undercutting all women in the ongoing struggle to be taken seriously in male-dominated fields? This post did briefly recognize the discrimination that overweight women experience every day. Why can’t we focus on fighting against that and the many other forms of sexism that still exist in the world today?

      Speaking of kicking butt and thinking about things that are meaningful, my blog can be found at http://cornbreadandcosmopolitans.blogspot.com.

    • raie

      Um, yeah, it’s satire – no on believes that shit… it was based on a stupid survey… a very stupid survey. Hence the reasons and statistics…. it’s not like they pick the numbers from the air for fun.

      • Beth

        Yeah, I read the story about the study, too. The study is stupid. Sadly, though, even if this post is indeed satire, the study and its very similar observations are not. Ugh.