There was a lovely report in the Wall Street Journal yesterday, if you are a big dude. The report was less lovely if you are salad-eating waif of a man, and downright offensive if you are a normal-sized woman.
This isn’t going to shock anybody who is trying to make a living by servicing clients, but thin women make more than average-weight or plus-sized women. Over $15,000 more. I don’t know if your law degree makes your ass look fat, but a fat ass will make your law degree less profitable.
But what will surprise some people is that thin men make less than bigger fellas. About $8,000 less. Booya! How do you like them apples? In fact, keep your stinking apples, I’m off to have a dinner of steak and potatoes. Gotta keep those revenue enhancements coming in.
I’m sorry, I don’t mean to be celebrating while my big-boned sisters are out there feeling like the entire world is against them. Here, grab a tub of ice cream, sit on the couch next to the Big Sexy, and let’s talk this through…
The fact that it’s obvious that thin women make more money is part of the problem. The Wall Street Journal reports that one of the things we could be seeing in this study is thin women simply living up to other people’s prejudiced expectations:
The study suggests employers should examine their assumptions about employees’ weight, because they may be rooted in prejudice. However, there also may be a logical explanation, the study points out: People who conform to others’ ideas about the ideal body image may actually perform better on the job, because they can wield more influence over other people and get more things accomplished.
Sadly, this makes a lot of sense. If thin women are treated better at work, they’ll be happier and more confident. If everybody else falls over themselves when a thin woman is in the room, it’ll be easier for these women to perform better on the job. And if you’ve got happy, confident women wielding their influence while others turn mushy in their presence, well, you’ve got a perfect recipe for having thin women earn more money than their “regular sized” counterparts.
So, what are women who occasionally put dressing on their salads supposed to do? It’s not like we’re talking about women who need wheels and an oxygen tank to get around the office. We’re talking about normal-looking women who are getting screwed out of money because they look more real than the ladies we see in movies.
Well, you can’t control other people’s attitudes, but you can control your own. If any bit of this salary discrepancy is based on factors like confidence, then you can’t let media-exacerbated body-image issues follow you to work. As a wise
Haitian Brooklynite once said: Shake what your mamma gave you.
If you are a big girl, go out and dominate those thin bitches at your firm. ‘Cause that is apparently what the men are doing:
Thin guys earned $8,437 less than average-weight men. But they were consistently rewarded for getting heavier, a trend that tapered off only when their weight hit the obese level. In one study, the highest pay point, on average, was reached for guys who weighed a strapping 207 pounds.
As in nature, it seems that size matters in the workplace too.
Seriously though, I think this body-image confidence thing probably hits thin men the same way it hits larger women. Are there tiny dudes out there who haven’t amassed the muscle mass to feel they can compete with bigger, stronger colleagues? Are those guys perhaps less confident in a work environment when confronted with a guy who could easily kick their ass? It certainly seems possible. Sure, if you look at the most wealthy male Americans, you’ll see a bunch of scrawny dudes — like this twerp, who I could have beaten the crap out of in college But, in fairness, once you attain a certain level of personal wealth, you can afford to hire people to fight your physical battles for you.
As you are clawing and scratching your way up the corporate ladder, maybe feeling like you could whup all the guys you are competing with helps, just a little. It could be a factor in the $8,000 pay discrepancy.
So, whether you are a man or a woman, the lesson seems clear: either spend a little more time in the gym, or spend a little less time looking in the mirror and feeling bad about yourself.
For Women, It Pays to Be Very Thin [Wall Street Journal]
Skinny Women Make More Money—But Skinny Guys Make Less [Gawker]
Normal-weight Women: Should EEOC/plaintiff attorneys sue on their behalf [Law and More]