Weekly News Update

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  • The WSJ covers KPMG’s way of giving interns guidelines on dressing for the office: staging a runway show. Meanwhile, Buzzfeed has some great career advice — even if you aren’t an intern.
  • Jeanine at The Coveted has been rethinking her wardrobe and is finding that rules help.
  • Road Warriorette gives you tips on how to pack for a summertime conference.
  • Above the Law comments on a new study that shows that judges who have at least one daughter may be more likely to rule in favor of women in certain cases.
  • This piece from The New Inquiry describes the author’s “constant struggle” to maintain a size 0 and reveals the way men treat her differently than when she wasn’t thin but just “average.”
  • PopSugar Smart Living gives you five ways to save money on dry cleaning.

Did we miss anything? Add ’em here, or send them to [email protected] Thank you! Also: Are you a mom or mom-to-be? Don’t miss this week’s news update at CorporetteMoms.


  1. Really recommend the thinness article it brings up some interesting points.

    • Agreed. That was one of the more fascinating pieces I’ve read this week.

      • +1. Article rings so true to me..partly because of my personal experiences…

        • Scary but true. I lived that in my 20s and the neurosis, obsession, and dishonesty with the world are real. As is the way the world treats a size 0 or 2 person versus someone just a size or two bigger.

          • In which region/community does this take place? Is this standard strict, or are height considerations given? Having lived in Japan, I can imagine people making value judgments on a size 0 versus a size 4. In America? Is this a NYC/LA thing?

    • I thought it was interesting, but I find that the men I know tend to prefer women who are say size 4 over size 0 because at a certain point too thin isn’t as appealing to them (as opposed to women, to tend to think the thinner the better).

    • Got guac? :

      I went to an all female lunch reacently where I ate an entree (not a large steak, but something like two tacos) and everyone else ate salads with dressing on the side, no chips, no guac.

      FWIW, I am in my 40s, 5-4, 125 pounds, and two toddlers. Mommy’s going to eat while she has the chance.

      Everyone else: perhaps slighly smaller, perhaps fitter, definitely overwhelmed by the suffering they’d endure to make up for this “meal”. I felt really bad for them (and as a mother of girls, I wanted to give them a hug, tell them that they are already perfect just as they are, and to be gentler on themselves).

      • I’ve had this experience many times. I think we’ve all got a somewhat natural set point based on genetics, body frame size, and who knows what else, and when you try to go too far below it, it becomes a huge effort.

        I eat healthy, but I like to eat. I work out, but 3 days a week not 6. I love active things like hiking and biking. At times in my life I’ve carefully watched every portion, exercised significantly more, and was 10 lbs thinner and maybe a dress size smaller (I’m tall). That 10 lbs was not worth the effort. That is not to say I don’t , eat lightly after a big vacation, maybe watch it if my pants are tight, but it doesn’t consume me and I am a lot happier.

        With respect to the article itself, that was my experience in my 20s vis a vis men and weight. Less so now at almost 40. But I wonder if some of it is confidence. As in, one may feel more confident at a lower weight, dress better, carry oneself differently, and that results in more male attention.

    • Also thought it was very interesting, and also slightly disturbing. It brought up some insecurities for me, so I don’t know that I would recommend it if you’re sensitive about weight issues.

      • It was disturbing to me too – I don’t have food/weight issues but someone close to me does.

        • Meg Murry :

          Yes, this sounded way to close to me in high school eating disorder days, or maybe when I was on the borderline.
          I miss being thin, but not at the expense of mental and physical energy it took. Now the pendulum has swung way too far the other way, and I’m afraid I might fall back into old obsessive ways to get back from obese into just overweight or average.
          Eating disorders never are really recovered from, in my opinion, only closely managed or they manifest in other ways. This author seems really on the border of an ED, if she hasn’t already fallen over.

      • BankrAtty :

        It was triggering for me, too.

      • Anonymous :

        Yeh I think the author has an eating disorder. So while it was interesting and enlightening, I think it’s sad that her days are consumed by calorie counting and exercising. How could she have time for a successful romantic relationship when her biggest relationship is with food?

        • I don’t know if I would call it an eating disorder without more details, but I also sensed something in her writing that hinted at an unhealthy relationship with food. Too much focus on thin and practically none on healthy. Major red flag.

          • Seattle Freeze :

            Or a blunt honesty (thanks, Monday, for the phrasing!) that her behaviors are all about thinness and not at all about health – “healthy” being code for thin in our culture.

          • Seattle Freeze, I said what I meant. I do not equate thin with healthy. Sounds like you share her problem.

    • +1. This verbalized something I feel a lot when I hear men talk about women, weight, and eating. “Attractive” is this weird mix of contradictory behaviours and traits.

  2. I thought the weight article was disturbing, too. And it seemed to me more of a cry for attention and approval for all her hard work to be a size zero.

    • Well, she did say that she almost wishes someone would have said “get help”–which makes me think that she knows this is at least bordering on a problem for her. I think she’s being bluntly honest and perhaps open to the possibility that she has an eating disorder, or could be on the way.

      As for what men find attractive, my experience/observation has been more complex. Maybe it varies by age group as well.

      • chilledcoyote :

        To me, the interesting part was pointing out the ridiculousness of expectations when it comes to thin women – that it is supposed to be effortless. It’s probably possible for almost anyone to be super thin, but it isn’t easy for anyone unless you are genetically predisposed for that body type.

        I read it as a criticism of men who want super thin women but who aren’t willing to accept that it takes slavish dedication to maintain super thinness. “I only want a woman who has a PhD, but ughhh why are you always going to class and writing papers?” Except different, because once you get the PhD, you’re done. You’re never done staying super thin.

  3. The weight/thinness article is interesting but I also wondered it the author has some other underlying issues. I know many people struggle with weight and sometimes it can lead to various forms of exclusion in society. But I also wonder about the wisdom of denying oneself so much so that you can fit a certain ideal.

    • Someone who is size 4, 6, or 8, as opposed to size 0, is not faced with discrimination or exclusion in our society. I’m a size 6 (up from size 4 in my college days), and never in my life did it occur to me that I should, or even could, be a size zero.

      • I am 5’4 and my weight fluctuates between size 6 and size 10. I went down to size 4 for my wedding and I was back to size 6 in a month. I have never wanted to be size 0 and I never can be size 0. However to be at size 6, I have to work out one hour per day, six days a week and be on a healthy diet (not depriving myself but I cannot have a dessert every day). If I slip, I will be at size 10 in 6 – 8 months. I have experienced the changes in the way people treat me when my body changes from size 6 to size 10 as size 6 is considered to very normal and size 10 is overweight for my height. The discrimination enrages and makes me sad at the same time that just a few pounds on your body which is not really harming any one and in the situations where it shouldn’t matter at all (say work) can cause people to discriminate against you. I personally don’t consider any weight or size to be abnormal as long as they are healthy. But being both sides on the fence gives you an idea and how people can get discriminated and excluded.

        • Anonymous :

          But weight is not only about “a few pounds on your body” it is also a signal about someone’s character because we all know how much work and dedication it takes to stay fit.

          • But it doesn’t take into account that someone might have the same amount of work and dedication, just directed in different ways. The mental energy the author of the article is putting into maintaining a size zero could just as easily be directed into a job, or children, or another hobby, none of which would be visible on the outside.

          • If the job requires some one to be fit (say police, model and sports person), then it may be agreeable if they get benefit out of it. If the job doesn’t require you to be like a model (which are vast majority of all jobs available), favoring some one who is physically fit over some one who may be over weight is discriminatory. What if the over weight person volunteers every week at an orphanage, or have children or elders with special needs whom she takes care off or spends her time in some other hobby that makes her happy? Does that means she doesn’t have as good a character as the fit person?

          • Anonymous :

            Lynnet, no, in this case weight is a signal of ability or inability to be hardworking and dedicated in principle.

          • Anonymous, my point is, that it’s a very, very poor signal for that. It’s a great signal for whether or not someone is hardworking and dedicated in their exercise and eating habits. That tells you absolutely nothing about whether they’re, say, a hardworking and dedicated employee.

          • Lynnet, would you rather hire someone with a perfect credit score or someone who has a super low one? Of course, they both could end up being hardworking and dedicated employees but one already has proven track record of being a responsible individual and the other one does not. Same with weight.

          • But, but…. My extra twenty pounds don’t tell you that I’m not dedicated. If you took that conclusion, I wouldn’t want to work for you anyway. I’ve been ill or injured for what seems like at least half of the past twelve months (mainly injured, and because I weigh that but more, exercise has a slightly higher impact). I have other hobbies. I love sitting watching a film with my knitting, I prioritise other things over paying for a gym membership.
            All that tells you is that I’m not dedicated to losing weight. It doesn’t tell you that I’m not dedicated to looking nice, or dedicated to my profession.

          • uftscanstfu :

            Apparently I am the only one who gets this comment. It is not different than dressing like a slob on a certain level. People judge by appearances, it is hardwired into our brains to do so.

            Is it fair? Hell no! It is reality.

            Personally, I would rather have that impression be of clean hair, appropriate, well cared for clothing, and a healthy weight* (clinical healthy weight as defined by medical statisticians) than have that crucial ‘5 seconds you get to make an impression’ be that I don’t take care of myself, an all the assumptions that go with it.

            *Lily, your point is well taken, but taking this personally is why this site has become a very bad joke.

          • Anonymous :

            Thank you, uftscanstfu! You said it much better than I did.

        • This. That could be my story. Thank you for sharing.

      • Really? Try working for someone who hates her size 18 – 24 body when you are those sizes. You yes, you can be discriminated against for being small.

        • Sure, you can be a target of someone’s personal animus for being any shape or size. I don’t know if that’s on par with societal discrimination, but I agree it’s unfair.

        • I have never work for a boss who is a plus size lady, so I have not faced discrimination of the kind you mention. The probability of that is very low as I am in a very male dominated profession (engineering). However, I agree that you shouldn’t be discriminated based on your size when being a certain way physically is not a job requirement

  4. Anonymous :

    Most men fully realize how much work it takes to maintain a body of a bikini model. Men are not idiots. I think the author of the article is confused.

    • Anonymous :

      I disagree. I think lots of people don’t realize how much work it takes to maintain a low body weight. I know I have to continually remind myself that when I envy thinner women. I believe she is correct when she states that men don’t fully understand the amount of work and self-control it takes to be thin. I also think she is correct when stating that when people are aware of the amount of effort, they are turned off by it.

      • Anonymous :

        Unattractive men, maybe. But attractive men work so hard to stay that way that they certainly know it’s the same for women.

    • I think the answer is somewhere in between. I believe there are a lot of really, really ill-informed people who may think some people are just born a size 0 or roll out of bed lookig like a Victoria’s secret model and maintain it with no effort at all.

      And there are the people who have highly informed or at very least, have some idea about what it takes to look like a runway, print or fitness model.

      It is possible the author was only attracting extremely shallow, ill-informed men. But I suspect the ones who weren’t didn’t get in this article. Statistically, I find it highly unlikely that every.single.man she attracted at size 0 was that stupid.

      • No…but it’s entirely possible that every single man she attracted as a clearly vulnerable, low self-esteem, disordered person was that shallow and demeaning.

        I think the type of man she is attracting has a lot less to do with her being a size 0 than it does with the issues that have led her to this “bordering on diseased” (using her language) thought process. That doesn’t exist in a vacuum.

  5. As a size 0 woman with a high metabolic rate, I find the assumption that being this thin necessarily implies that your fitness routine necessarily takes over your life rather annoying. Yes, some women are actually born this way. I eat whatever I want and have not been to the gym for over ten years. What’s wrong with men being attracted to women of this body type? Not different from men being attracted to natural blondes or women with naturally big breasts. Also, it is simply not true that being size 0, as opposed to 2 or 4, gets you substantially more male attention.

    • Did you even read the article? She specifically said (repeatedly) that for a small percentage of women, the really do roll out of bed like that, but that it isn’t nearly the percentage of women who struggle and fight to get there. She is one of the latter and was writing about her own felt experience. It doesn’t deny or diminish yours.
      More pointedly, her article is about her own personal experiences with men, who insist on a woman who is really, really thin (not just fit or average, but thin) and more specifically, one who is just born that way because it’s ‘boring’ to have to deal with a woman who has to work to get there.

      I don’t know if you ‘ve actually been a size 4 or 6, since you specifically say you just are a size zero without doing much to achieve it, but just because *you* didn’t get more attention at a 0 than a 4 doesn’t mean *she* didn’t.

    • PoliticalGal :

      I know this is an old post, but it cropped up recently in the yearly roundup, and just wanted to chime in in response to Anon above. I’m also naturally small. My weight fluctuated a little bit as a teenager, but as an adult I’m naturally a size 2 without any exercise or conscious thinking about my body. I can get down to a size 0 very, very quickly with just a little bit of weekly exercise.

      The author of the blog post explicitly says that she has nothing against men that are attracted to thin women, whether those women work hard for their thin figures or are naturally that thin. But there is a big difference between preferring thin women and actively shaming heavier women. There is a big difference between appreciating a woman’s figure and wanting a woman to be thin but refusing to acknowledge that there is a very strong chance that she works incredibly hard to keep that figure.

      We’re talking about the male gaze here. This article is not so much about the author’s body as it is about how she has internalized the way her body is deemed valuable/not valuable based, largely, on her weight. Totally valid and totally true.

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