Here we are again at that time of the year when we are encouraged to replace our eggnog with diet shakes and to join some weight loss program or another. One (somewhat annoying) commercial this year features a boney actress swinging her hips erratically while proclaiming, “This program saved my marriage!” Repeated viewing of this ad has led my kids to ask, what kind of man would leave his wife just because she gained a few extra pounds?
When I walked away from my four-year marriage, many years ago, friends and family members wanted to know why I would leave what they had believed to be a happy marriage. That wasn’t an easy question to answer, not for me and especially not for the man I was leaving.
Employers may punish women who are obese with lower wages, but not all women are paying a penalty. Single women who are obese earn higher wages because they invest more in unobservable job skills. Why? Because heavy women have to plan on never having a husband to help pay the bills.