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

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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."


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 — 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



I think he has a point. Society seems to view overweight people as having less self-control - you'd lose wieght if only you eat less and exercised more. It sounds so simple, so you'd have to be a lazy bum not to do it. Therefore, skinny = superior. And since womens' currency is far more tied to looks than mens' women with a few extra pounds are therefore less powerful.

Everything's competition. Maybe we don't decide to lose wieght to "beat" the girl at the cubicle next door, but we certainly know it will help us get ahead (in jobs, with men, in life, etc.) And if we get ahead, someone else probably didn't.