Do Women Want To Be Thin In Order To "Dominate Other, Fatter Women"?

Illustration for article titled Do Women Want To Be Thin In Order To Dominate Other, Fatter Women?

In the December issue of Vogue UK, British GQ features director Alex Bilmes tackles a ladymag staple: "Men's attitudes to women's attitudes to their weight," aka the article wherein a dude criticizes women as a gender for being so weight obsessed. Bilmes covers mostly familiar ground — men don't want women to be obese but they like curves, muscles are ugly on women, obsessing about your weight is "unappealing" to men, etc. etc. At the very end of the 3-page article, though, Bilmes drops this fascinating little nugget: "I think that much of the time, women want to be thin so that they can dominate other, fatter women." He also says that, "Where we see a vivacious, curvy, sensual sort, you see a hopeless beta-female, a Bridget Jones."

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While it's true that women can be obsessed and concerned with their weight as compared to other women (my shameful secret is that I am a dutiful reader of theskinnywebsite.com — where an insane woman tracks the weight gain and loss of every starlet down to the ounce), isn't the implication that all women want to be thin as a bid for alpha female control a vast overstatement? Isn't our collective weight obsession a fraught and complex issue, with so many societal factors that oversimplifying it into mere catfighting is downright insulting? All the same, Bilmes isn't completely off the mark. Who among us has not mentally denigrated another, more successful woman by thinking, "Well at least I'm thinner"? (I'm not at all proud of it, but it's happened. But it's not just about weight — I've mentally denigrated other people in all manners of pettiness! i.e., at least I'm cuter/younger/etc.) Are you dismissive of those pleasure-seeking, beta-females? Or do you think Bilmes deserves an arse-kicking via one of those women with the "unappealing" musculature?

Vogue UK

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DISCUSSION

theroo
Rooo sez BISH PLZ

@Omnilation: Weight is a STATUS MARKER. Many here have commented about men who are "secretly" sexually attracted to women they wouldn't dare date, or propose to, because of fear of what "the guys would think." Or what their parents would say. Or whoever holds the keys to the inheritance.

Extreme thinness in a serious girlfriend or spouse is also a status marker in the way that bound feet were in ancient Asian society and the way that extreme overweight was in an earlier European age and the way that stiletto heels that are so high that the woman isn't expected to walk in them, just pose in them or be carried in from the limo in in them, still are. The more the "man's woman" can be perceived as not even needing to be able to work or function, the richer the man is perceived to be. Useless woman as status symbol.

Many here have also commented about having the leisure time and education to work out hours a day and research where to send the help to get one's organic food contributing to the modern serving of "thin" as subtext for "rich". Generally, and particularly as one ages — genetics, of cousre, aside — it takes EFFORT to be excessively thin. Such thinness is a perceived demonstration that one has both the means and the "self-discipline" to rise above the stigmatization of overweight.

I know you're busy with important things, but if you're going to be in the conversation, you might want to, oh, read the comments.

And of course you've never heard a man discuss it. Your brains are not wired, nor are you socialized, for personal verbal discourse. (Therefore, in the language of the patriarchy, it's dem wimmins who talk TOO MUCH.)

Oh, and the author, who is also showing his own competitive and status biases, in addition to drastically oversimplifying the entire matter because he clearly doesn't give a damn about womens' body image issues, is projecting.