FacebookTwitter
Hatrack River Forum   
my profile login | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » The overweight in relationships: An exercise of stereotypes and subjectivity

   
Author Topic: The overweight in relationships: An exercise of stereotypes and subjectivity
Javert
Member
Member # 3076

 - posted      Profile for Javert   Email Javert         Edit/Delete Post 
Kind of a long title there, I know, but go with me if you can.

The common stereotype when it comes to relationships, at least the one that I have heard most often, is that women are much less focused on the physical appearance than men are. That, being a stereotype, is probably only as true as much as most stereotypes are...marginally so, if at all. Still, it is the one I hear most.

That being said, it has been my subjective experience that there are far more couples with an overweight woman and an average weight man than the reverse. If my subjective experience reflects reality, what does this tell us about the stereotype? Does it tell us anything?

Does it imply that the stereotype is completely inaccurate? Does it imply that men are less likely to view a woman who is overweight as unattractive than a woman is to view a man who is overweight as unattractive?

Or are both my subjective experiences and the stereotype completely wrong? Am I, as an overweight man, giving it way too much thought?

I'd love everybody's thoughts, if you have some.

[ September 28, 2010, 10:04 PM: Message edited by: Javert ]

Posts: 3852 | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
TomDavidson
Member
Member # 124

 - posted      Profile for TomDavidson   Email TomDavidson         Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
That being said, it has been my subjective experience that there are far more couples with an overweight woman and an average weight man than the reverse.
I suspect your subjective experience is not representative.
Posts: 37449 | Registered: May 1999  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Synesthesia
Member
Member # 4774

 - posted      Profile for Synesthesia   Email Synesthesia         Edit/Delete Post 
I don't know... I like all sorts of men (And women) myself.
I am rather... rotund. But I'm working on it.... Poorly I might add, but I walk an hour or more a day at least.
Maybe it depends on the person?

Posts: 9942 | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Amanecer
Member
Member # 4068

 - posted      Profile for Amanecer   Email Amanecer         Edit/Delete Post 
My first thought is that maybe it depends on when in the relationship. Women are a lot more likely to gain weight after children (especially multiples), so maybe come mid-30's-ish, your analysis is more accurate, but before that the stereotype is more valid. I don't have any data to back this idea up.
Posts: 1947 | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Javert
Member
Member # 3076

 - posted      Profile for Javert   Email Javert         Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
That being said, it has been my subjective experience that there are far more couples with an overweight woman and an average weight man than the reverse.
I suspect your subjective experience is not representative.
As do I. Which is part of the reason I brought this up.
Posts: 3852 | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
scholarette
Member
Member # 11540

 - posted      Profile for scholarette           Edit/Delete Post 
Amanecer's theory is worth exploring. At 9 months pregnant, I am much heavier than my husband and it will take some time for me to lose it even after giving birth. So, when we got together, I weighed less than my husband, but now weigh a lot more than him.
Posts: 2223 | Registered: Mar 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Javert
Member
Member # 3076

 - posted      Profile for Javert   Email Javert         Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by scholarette:
Amanecer's theory is worth exploring. At 9 months pregnant, I am much heavier than my husband and it will take some time for me to lose it even after giving birth. So, when we got together, I weighed less than my husband, but now weigh a lot more than him.

It is a good theory. But the couples I've noticed have, for the most part, been young and without children. Again, that's just my subjective impression, of course.
Posts: 3852 | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Kwea
Member
Member # 2199

 - posted      Profile for Kwea   Email Kwea         Edit/Delete Post 
Both my wife and I are overweight, so I am not sure. I believe that it is hardly something that can be neatly divided into sexes. It seems to me to be more a personal choice than anything else.
Posts: 15082 | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
rivka
Member
Member # 4859

 - posted      Profile for rivka   Email rivka         Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
That being said, it has been my subjective experience that there are far more couples with an overweight woman and an average weight man than the reverse.
I suspect your subjective experience is not representative.
It's certainly contrary to mine.
Posts: 32919 | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Chris Bridges
Member
Member # 1138

 - posted      Profile for Chris Bridges   Email Chris Bridges         Edit/Delete Post 
Your experience is also, apparently, assuming that those couples were those shapes when they met.

When Teres and I met we were both thin, in my case incredibly so. During our decades we've both waned and waxed. Currently I'm much rounder than she, but we're still young yet.

Posts: 7790 | Registered: Aug 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Kwea
Member
Member # 2199

 - posted      Profile for Kwea   Email Kwea         Edit/Delete Post 
Yeah, Chris, that's one of the things I was hinting at, although not specifically talking about you two of course.

We all make personal choices, and some of those cause us to have weight gains and losses throughout our lives. we also learn how much appearance means to us, and that changes thought the years as well.

Posts: 15082 | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Foust
Member
Member # 3043

 - posted      Profile for Foust   Email Foust         Edit/Delete Post 
My own observations fall in line with Javert's. Of course, the plural of anecdote is not data, but what do the rest of you see?

Of the couples I know - friends and acquaintances - there are 3 thin-ish men with larger women. I don't know any thin women dating larger men. Everyone else I know is dating someone roughly their size, including me.

Rivka, do you mean to say that you see more fat men with thin women?

Posts: 1515 | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
rivka
Member
Member # 4859

 - posted      Profile for rivka   Email rivka         Edit/Delete Post 
Yup. However, Chris' point applies -- some of these are long-term couples whose relative weights when they married are not known to me.
Posts: 32919 | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Jhai
Member
Member # 5633

 - posted      Profile for Jhai   Email Jhai         Edit/Delete Post 
I think there's a particular geek/alternative subculture in America that ends up having a lot of thinner guys dating heavier girls. I see it fairly often in Silicon Valley - geekier women who just don't put appearance/exercise very high on their list of things that matter (which is fine, as long as they're working towards being healthy), and a lot of geekier guys who, for whatever reason, don't weigh much, at least in their 20s.

My brother and I actually used to be those two stereotypes - now I've lost a bit of weight and put exercise very high on my list, and he's starting to gain weight as he gets closer to 30. Heck, compared to each other, Abhi and I still fulfill this stereotype - I have about 10 pounds to go to my ideal weight and he's stick thin (and always will be) from his crazy genes.

Posts: 2409 | Registered: Sep 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
advice for robots
Member
Member # 2544

 - posted      Profile for advice for robots           Edit/Delete Post 
You meet a couple and you see a snapshot of them as they are at the moment. Sheís overweight and heís not, or vice versa. But you canít see their history and which direction they are headed. Spouses know each otherís plans to get back into shape and in my experience at least tend to be pretty patient with each other as they go through phases with their weight. One day isnít important, but changes over a year or two are. So itís hard to tell at a glance whether one spouse is satisfied or not with the otherís weight. Itís not really the satisfaction at the moment that should be considered, but the expectations over time. I donít know if that makes sense.
Posts: 5957 | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
ElJay
Member
Member # 6358

 - posted      Profile for ElJay           Edit/Delete Post 
I've dated I think two guys who were substantially overweight and one who was somewhat overweight, all when I was on the thin/healthy side, one extremely so. Now I am on the heavy side of average and Raja is quite thin, although neither of us is in particularly good shape. (I've also dated people who were "normal" while I was "normal.") I know couples on both sides, but in my observations with younger couples, before children, a normal weight woman is more likely to date a somewhat overweight guy than a normal weight guy is to date a somewhat overweight woman. When you get into substantially overweight, it is difficult for either gender.
Posts: 7954 | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Parkour
Member
Member # 12078

 - posted      Profile for Parkour           Edit/Delete Post 
I live in the skinniest state so it is hard to look at this for myself. Skinny people dating skinny people.
Posts: 805 | Registered: Jun 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Mucus
Member
Member # 9735

 - posted      Profile for Mucus           Edit/Delete Post 
Question: If you're one of those that sees far more couples with an overweight woman and an average weight man than the reverse, then what do you perceive is going on with the other groups?
i.e.
a) are couples with overweight men and average women in other geographic locations/non-existent?
b) is there anything going on with underweight men/women that affect the distribution of average/overweight couples?
c) are the "excess" overweight men not forming couples?

As disclosure, I've never really noticed anything specific to average/overweight couples. I think race might warp this beyond comparability. (Although prompted, I have occasionally noticed that geek subculture Jhai pointed out.)

[ September 29, 2010, 05:43 PM: Message edited by: Mucus ]

Posts: 7593 | Registered: Sep 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
rivka
Member
Member # 4859

 - posted      Profile for rivka   Email rivka         Edit/Delete Post 
I suspect a combination of selection bias (in all cases) and statistically insignificant sample sizes.
Posts: 32919 | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Bella Bee
Member
Member # 7027

 - posted      Profile for Bella Bee   Email Bella Bee         Edit/Delete Post 
I've honestly never noticed one way or the other, except that often, if one member of the couple is really, really, unusually big, the other often is pretty big too. Probably because they have dinner together. And it's easier to lose weight when your partner is on a diet too.

But really this is like - Do most short men date really tall women? or - Why are so many beautiful women going out with ugly guys?
Most of the time they're not - you just notice when they are.

Posts: 1528 | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Samprimary
Member
Member # 8561

 - posted      Profile for Samprimary   Email Samprimary         Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by Bella Bee:
Most of the time they're not - you just notice when they are.

livid exampling! my favorite.
Posts: 15421 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Dan_Frank
Member
Member # 8488

 - posted      Profile for Dan_Frank   Email Dan_Frank         Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by Jhai:
I think there's a particular geek/alternative subculture in America that ends up having a lot of thinner guys dating heavier girls. I see it fairly often in Silicon Valley - geekier women who just don't put appearance/exercise very high on their list of things that matter (which is fine, as long as they're working towards being healthy), and a lot of geekier guys who, for whatever reason, don't weigh much, at least in their 20s.

I have definitely seen this subculture as well, but not too many instances outside it.
Posts: 3580 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
sinflower
Member
Member # 12228

 - posted      Profile for sinflower           Edit/Delete Post 
I've seen the subculture too. Huh. Why are young geeky guys so skinny? They get potbellied later.
Posts: 241 | Registered: Nov 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
rollainm
Member
Member # 8318

 - posted      Profile for rollainm   Email rollainm         Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by sinflower:
I've seen the subculture too. Huh. Why are young geeky guys so skinny? They get potbellied later.

It's the running from high school bullies, eating our small lunch quickly before it can be stolen or mutilated, marching band, walking everywhere because we don't have a car, etc., i.e., super high metabolism. Then we grow up, get a car, a job, maybe a girl, and get fat.
Posts: 1945 | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

   Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Hatrack River Home Page

Copyright © 2008 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.


Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2