Get married. Get fat.

I’ve been away from blogging for a while, so now I’ve got time I thought I’d better catch up with the goings on in the media reporting of science stories about gender. I looked first to the Daily Mail but I had to back away slowly as it has now become obvious that this paper is beyond satire: ‘Killers in your kitchen: Gender-bending packaging, exploding floor cleaners and toasters more deadly than sharks…

I don’t know where to even begin with this story as it is so chocka block with the most ridiculous statements I have ever read that it has rendered me speechless (for the time being). I will come back to the plastic packaging turning boys into girls soon as that little gem has been doing the rounds for a while and is, guess what, shite.

So I turned instead to our old friend, the Daily Telegraph who confidently tells us: ‘Married women ‘4lbs heavier than unmarried counterparts” and for good measure, includes the subheading: ‘Women really do let themselves go when they get married according to a new study which found that they are 4lbs heavier than their unmarried counterparts.’

Now, the Daily Telegraph have a rich history of ensuring that their headlines and subheadings have only a tangential bearing on the facts within the story, as demonstrated well in this previous article on rape. And they don’t let us down here.

This article is based on a paper; ‘Effects of Having a Baby on Weight Gain‘, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. The purpose of the research was to see how much weight gain within a cohort of women was attributable to having a baby or to other factors.

Spot the difference between that and the headline?

The article goes on to explain some of the possible reasons why women who live with a partner and have a baby are heavier than those that don’t which include “eating unhealthier food because of their partner” and having less time for exercise.

So not ‘letting themselves go’ then? And actually one of the reasons points to both of the partners eating unhealthily. But no, of course it is much easier to tap into the stereotypical myth of people ‘going to seed’ after getting married. In this instance it’s women only bothering to keep thin till they get a man then stuffing their cake-holes with, er, cakes. They are therefore tricking men into marrying them then ballooning up to 4lbs heavier.

Why does the Daily Telegraph stop there, why don’t they just go the full Burt Bacharach?

2 Responses to “Get married. Get fat.”

  • Robert Morgan Says:

    I don’t understand what you’re saying.

    Obviously, that sort of article is *annoying* and advances an agenda in which women are expected to hate themselves for not living up to some ridiculous Daily Telegraph standard.

    But what’s the substantial difference between eating more unhealthily and stopping exercise and “letting yourself go” or “going to seed”. What do these terms mean? Are they defined somewhere? I thought I knew what “letting yourself go” meant, and it was something like taking less care of food and body.

    Obviously, that applies to both sexes equally. Don’t people in comfortable relationships make less effort in countless ways? I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    I was tempted to suggest that one reason why this focuses on women is it (ridiculously) brings having children into the equation. That massive physical upheval is very likely to leave people heavier afterwards. But then, the slobbishness of marriage strikes me as actually being a disportionately male phenomenon, so I’m surprised it doesn’t balance out.

  • Jenimartian Says:

    I think the difference is the nuance of terms such as ‘letting yourself go’. This implies an almost deliberate act.

    Eating unhealthily after marriage could be attributed to many things other than a lack of desire to ‘impress men’. For example cooking for two and splitting portions equally, or even other lifestyle factors such changes in wealth (two incomes, more disposable income possibly to spend on food). The fact is that this phenomenon, if true, does not support the theory that women ‘let themselves go’ that we think, “right that’s it. I’ve snagged a man, lets get fat – wooo!” In fact I’m sure many women are not accepting of their extra 4lbs and that’s why there is such a huge diet industry for women, is the telegraph trying to tell us that only single women go to weight watchers?

    Don’t get me started on the expectations for women’s size that is also implied here. The idea that if I have put on weight I have ‘let myself go’ ie. am no longer myself? am defective in some way? tw@ts.

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