Does a woman’s weight increase or decrease her value

In honor of International Women’s Day I thought it was important that I address women’s weight and their value.

The connection is simple. As much as we are conditioned to think what a woman weighs is important and thinner is better, it’s not true. A woman’s value is neither in her weight or her shape.

This stock image illustrates the perception that thinner women are more disciplined than an overweight woman.

This stock image illustrates the perception that thinner women are more disciplined than an overweight woman.

I work for a commercial weight loss company so maybe you’re reading this and thinking what a hypocrite am I. Well, let me assure you, I don’t judge women by their weight. Thinner or fatter makes no difference to me. What matters to me is kindness, integrity, intelligence (which incidentally has nothing to do with educational level or advanced degrees.)

Some women want to lose weight to improve their self esteem. I don’t think that self esteem and a number on a scale should be linked. I completely understand why women want to lose weight for reasons that have nothing to do with self esteem. Weight loss can improve health and mobility.

It’s a fact that women earn less than men. Some men will argue it’s because women take lower paying jobs, work part time because of family responsibilities, or go for years out of the work force while they raise their families. That explains why over a lifetime women earn less than men. That, however, neither addresses nor explains the pay gap. The pay gap is real and is worse in some states than others. Working women tend to get paid less than men for doing the same job.

Guess who is likely to earn even lower pay for the same job? If you guessed an overweight woman, you’re absolutely correct. That is patently wrong but it’s easy to understand why and it goes back to conditioning.

As previously stated we’re conditioned to believe that people who aren’t overweight are smarter, more disciplined, and harder working. We are also conditioned to believe men are more likely to possess those qualities than women. That means if you’re female and overweight you are of reduced value first because of your gender and then because of your weight.

I’m not advocating that women should lose weight to increase their self esteem and value. I’m saying it’s time we stop judging women superficially. I think it’s okay to appreciate a good looking person – male or female – but that’s not an indicator of the qualities that really matter.


Jackie Conn

About Jackie Conn

Jackie Conn is married and has four grown daughters and four grandchildren. She is a Weight Watchers success story. She's a weight loss expert with 25 years of experience guiding women and men to their weight-related goals. Her articles on weight management have been published in health, family and women's magazines. She has been a regular guest on Channel 5 WABI news, FOX network morning program Good Day Maine and 207 on WCSH.