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 Post subject: For Women, It Pays to Be Very Thin
PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2012 1:33 pm 
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We have posted before on how obese women have a far harder time climbing the career ladder than their slimmer female counterparts, while men actually improve their chances of reaching the corner office when they gain weight.

Now, a new study goes a step further by showing that employers seem to treat women exactly the way the fashion industry does – by rewarding very thin women with higher pay, while penalizing average-weight women with smaller paychecks. Very thin men, on the other hand, tend to get paid less than male workers of average weight. Men earn more as they pack on the pounds – all the way to the point where they become obese, when the pay trend reverses.

The study is the first look at the effects of being very thin on men vs. women. Separate studies of 11,253 Germans and 12,686 U.S. residents led by Timothy A. Judge of the University of Florida found very thin women, weighing 25 pounds less than the group norm, earned an average $15,572 a year more than women of normal weight. Women continued to experience a pay penalty as their weight increased above average levels, although a smaller one — presumably because they had already violated social norms for the ideal female appearance. A woman who gained 25 pounds above the average weight earned an average $13,847 less than an average-weight female.

Men were also penalized for violating stereotypes about ideal male appearance, but in a different way. 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.

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.

Meanwhile, in separate research, economists at George Washington University tabulated the cost of obesity and found that it’s more expensive for a woman to be obese than for a man, according to the New York Times. (Their calculations included direct costs, like medical expenses, and indirect expenses, like lost wages and reduced work productivity.) While a man racks up $2,646 annually in extra expenses if he is obese, a woman’s obesity costs her $4,879, almost twice as much, the Times reported.

Readers, do you see body-image stereotypes at work in your workplace? Do thin women and heavier guys get higher pay or more chances for promotion? Are these rewards deserved, reflecting these people’s actual abilities to influence other people? Have you ever sensed your career was helped or hurt by your weight?

Whispered words of wisdom,
Let it be.

~~ John Lennon

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 Post subject: Re: For Women, It Pays to Be Very Thin
PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2012 11:48 pm 
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Interesting! I knew about the men part of this, but to see that very thin women get paid more than even average size women... and I use all of those terms loosely, that's scary. For some reason it sends me into the thoughts about vanity sizing in the more upscale stores... So if women buy smaller sizes because the smaller sizes are actually being made bigger, and they feel more confident because of the artificial label in their clothing, what would that mean for their job performance? Would they then perform 'better' on the job, then increasing their earnings? Or is it purely a subjective thing that the employer is looking at the body of the person and judging them by how they look and not at all how they perform?

For me I've spent the majority of my working years in what should be a female dominated world just by its nature, but in fact is a male dominated one. My pay has alternated on pure years of experience (so they have to pay more) to being in the more private sector where we've been told that there wasn't enough incoming revenue for us to get a raise even though the CEO took home a ... get this... $56 Billion bonus. And yes, that is NOT a typo. And that was why I left that position. I felt I could not work for a place that had such inequality that was beyond my imagination. I see it though in the acupuncture world, even as small as it is as well. Interesting.

When I did work in retail, which I did a lot throughout the years, the pretty women got better positions, like more in the public eye, but I honestly have no idea about whether or not there was a pay difference. I've always assumed that there was. I know that those of us who worked behind the scenes were certainly treated differently even by the people who were doing the sales. They dressed up, we were dressed down (think Target employee, although it wasn't Target), they were 'in charge' and we took orders. Yes, part of that was job description, but not all of it. There was no job description about attitude and being demeaning.

At any given moment you have the power to say: This is NOT how the story is going to end.

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