100 lb. Club - Beauty and success...




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LaurieDawn
08-29-2009, 09:52 AM
So, this posting is just a bit of musing and a bit long, but I'm very interested in the reaction of other people who might understand how I'm feeling.

I just started law school two weeks ago (Finally! Yay!). I have never been afraid of the academic part of it, and have actually begun to increase in confidence in that area as it appears I'm understanding the material better than most of my classmates.

But it is really intimidating how beautiful most of the women in the school seem to be. And I'm not just talking students (though it's very true for them), I'm talking faculty as well. If you look at the men, there's far more variety - short, fat, bald, etc. But of my three female professors, I believe the average weight is about 120, and they are women in their forties and fifties. Our speakers at orientation followed the same pattern. We heard from many very successful attorneys and judges. If they were men, their looks were varied. If they were women, they were tiny and very attractive.

Dont' get me wrong, though. These women are extremely intelligent and appear to have earned their success. So, I've been mulling the question. In order for them to have the opportunites they've had, was beauty a requirement? Or did they understand that beauty is such a priority that they invested substantial effort into meeting that standard? Or is it just a coincidence and this tiny pool of people is not representative of successful people in general?


paris81
08-29-2009, 10:14 AM
That's very interesting. I think all of your theories are possible. Perhaps it's one of those things that goes together--they're obviously very driven, probably perfectionists--so they're perfectionists in every area of their lives. I'd imagine though that it's just a coincidence.

I can imagine that it would be intimidating, but I suspect that once you get to know the women, they'll seem more approachable and more human. Good luck in law school, getting in is a huge achivement all by itself!

CountingDown
08-29-2009, 10:16 AM
My guesses (and they are only guesses)
1. Women that are in the spotlight, are in front of people as a part of their job - are often more appearance conscious than the average person. Thus, these women probably DO make their appearance a priority.
2. Women that succeed in professional careers often have the skillsets/personalities that help them maintain their appearance/health. They are likely very dedicated, focused, committed, organized, action and goal-oriented individuals. All traits that would serve them well when it comes to weight-loss, exercise, etc.

Thus, in my opinion, there probably is a correlation. I know in my school district, I work at Central Office. Of ALL of the folk in my building, only two are not a "normal" weight. Yet, in my community, over 50 percent of the population is overweight/obese. Now, did they intentionally hire thin people? No. They hired me, and I've never seen any type of weight bias in our district's hiring practices. We have several principals and teachers and support staff that were hired at an unhealthy weight. I just think that the type of people we hire for Central Office positions fit the scenario I outlined above.


rockinrobin
08-29-2009, 10:16 AM
Congratulations on starting law school. My daughter's BF just did so last week and he was telling us all about it. It sounded so interesting, informative and wonderfully stimulating. Best of luck to you.

In order for them to have the opportunites they've had, was beauty a requirement? Or did they understand that beauty is such a priority that they invested substantial effort into meeting that standard? Or is it just a coincidence and this tiny pool of people is not representative of successful people in general?

I was actually thinking of another possible reason . Law is a fairly demanding profession. I think you need to be a pretty determined, motivated, responsible, disciplined person to be successful. And there you have it. Perhaps those qualities spill over into their health and well being.

Of course there are many successful business people with those same qualities who are overweight. There are many who are successful in SO many areas of their life, but unfortunately fall short in the weight department.

CountingDown
08-29-2009, 10:27 AM
:high: In sync, yet again with Robin.

c_laura
08-29-2009, 10:33 AM
Hi.

I think I know what you are talking about.

I've begun a PhD program in the last two weeks and so many of the students and faculty were beautiful that I was actually suprised until I actually began interacting with them up close. I don't know how it is for lawyers, but I know that beauty isn't a requirement for success in science. Instead you have to be competent, creative and driven. You also have to be able to project that image to everyone around you.

As much as it pains me to admit, I think the best way to project that image is first of all be confident, then the next most important thing is to be healthy (and by that I mean exercising everyday and eating well on a regular basis). When you are confident, at a healthy weight, wear clothing that fits, your hair is done and your features look fresh, I think you look a thousand times more beautiful and successful then you did before. Then the people around you will respond to that projected image and listen to what you have to say. Which to me is highly indicitive of success.

Not to mention that if you were to put a natuarally beautiful woman may that looked a mess next to a plain woman that was at a healthy weight, confident, and well put together, and ask a question I'll bet that everytime the well put together but plain woman would be listened to over the beautiful woman. And if asked I bet woman 2 would be considered the more beautiful of the two.

So...

Or did they understand that beauty is such a priority that they invested substantial effort into meeting that standard?

I think that if you were to replace beauty in the question with healthy competence, I would say yes. Every beautiful, successful woman recognized that they could do better in their life if they put effort into looking and feeling good. I think though that the term beauty is misleading and carries a number of connotations that sometimes aren't there.

I don't know, I've rambled on for a while and I'm not sure if this is even what you were getting at so I'll leave things here.

:)

rockinrobin
08-29-2009, 10:35 AM
:high: In sync, yet again with Robin.

Kinda cool!

Often I'll go to post something and then see that you've posted, read that post - and realize there's no longer a reason for me to post, CountingDown's already said what I was going to.

No chance we're long lost sister's or something, right? ;)

Okay. Sorry to veer off topic........ Thread can resume now. :smug:

LaurieDawn
08-29-2009, 10:36 AM
Very interesting. And thanks for the congratulations. It is very exciting to be attending!

Two thoughts occur to me based on the responses.

1 - I am highly driven, perfectionist, dedicated, focused, committed, etc. I don't believe that I am the only overweight person in the world who is all those things. And I am one of the small percentage of students that received a full-tuition scholarship, so I compete well with these tiny, beatiful women in my class (who, incidentally, are very sweet and approachable). Yet, I'm overweight. Very overweight.

2 - Why the discrepency between the men and the women? The men are equally successful. Why is it seemingly acceptable for them to be overweight, bald, etc.?

Thighs Be Gone
08-29-2009, 10:46 AM
I agree with Robin. Laurie, you probably fall within the realm of RR's last paragraph.

TaraLee
08-29-2009, 10:49 AM
In a social study preformed (I was a Sociology major...bare with me) when presented with two people and asked to choose the more "educated" or "sucessful" based on nothing but their first impression, people pretty much always chose the more "attractive" person. Sociologists doing the experiement theorized that the persons looks could give them social boosts in society and here's why:
Its called self-fufilling prophecy.... As young attractive children there would be more attention paid to them teachers, counselors, peers, even parents. This extra attention would, of course be postive. They child would recieve extra help with studies or other activities and thus increase their preformance in these areas. The adults would then praise their abilities and achievments and the child would internalize this, thus believing themselves to be smart, gifted, driven, etc. and therefor would become attractive, smart, driven, gifted adults. The same is true for the opposite... a influential adult in the life of a different child telling them they are "bad" or "dumb" will, generally, result in a child internalzing that view of themselves and match their behaviors to what society views bad or dumb kids to do. This has become a HUGE movement in the rehabilitation and functioning of our juvinel justice system. But, again, these are just theories.

Thighs Be Gone
08-29-2009, 10:51 AM
Lauriedawn,

There is a well accepted theory that most men preferring women to be fit and healthy looking is primal. Supposedly, the gist of it is that men unknowingly "look" for women that could bear the strongest, healthiest offspring.

Likewise, the same theory predicts women look for men that are able to gather and provide for offspring.

If the theories are correct, this could explain the difference as to what is considered acceptable. I can definitely say in my own immediate world, I know many very nice looking women with less than attractive hubbies. But in almost every case, the man is making a nice salary and providing well. Personally, I see nothing wrong with it.

rockinrobin
08-29-2009, 10:53 AM
1 - I am highly driven, perfectionist, dedicated, focused, committed, etc. I don't believe that I am the only overweight person in the world who is all those things. And I am one of the small percentage of students that received a full-tuition scholarship, so I compete well with these tiny, beatiful women in my class (who, incidentally, are very sweet and approachable). Yet, I'm overweight. Very overweight.


Yes, I think I alluded to this. There are many driven, focused, etc. women who happen to be overweight.

Oh and a scholarship. Congratulations once again! My daughters' BF is also going on a full scholarship.

Why the discrepency between the men and the women? The men are equally successful. Why is it seemingly acceptable for them to be overweight, bald, etc.?

Well they really can't help but be bald, can they? ;) Not too much they can do about that, but I'm sure some men HAVE had weaves and the such to help advance themselves. If even in their own minds.

I wonder if it's that men don't feel that pressure to be "slim & beautiful". It's just more *accepted* for a man to be overweight. It's not as much a *reflection* on their abilities.

CountingDown
08-29-2009, 10:58 AM
Very interesting. And thanks for the congratulations. It is very exciting to be attending!

Two thoughts occur to me based on the responses.

1 - I am highly driven, perfectionist, dedicated, focused, committed, etc. I don't believe that I am the only overweight person in the world who is all those things. And I am one of the small percentage of students that received a full-tuition scholarship, so I compete well with these tiny, beatiful women in my class (who, incidentally, are very sweet and approachable). Yet, I'm overweight. Very overweight.

2 - Why the discrepency between the men and the women? The men are equally successful. Why is it seemingly acceptable for them to be overweight, bald, etc.?

1. You are so right. You have committed and focused your skills to other areas of your life, and not to weight loss/maintenance. I absolutely believe that you will be successful losing weight if you use the skills that you have to reach your goals.

I can say this, because I have been there. My weight was the ONLY area of my life where I "let it slide". I did NOT use my skills/resources. Once I changed that focus - made my health and fitness a priority, there was no going back. Of course I lost the weight and I am successfully maintaining.

Thus, it is not only possessing those skills, it is also a matter of applying them, to reach the goal.

You would not be where you are today, academically - if you did not devote your skills/time/resources to your goals. Weight loss and health maintenance are exactly the same.

2. Guys don't put the same pressure on themselves to meet a societal standard. They are more likely to do what you and I (and many others) have done - focus their efforts on OTHER areas of their life and not make health and fitness and appearance a priority.

And, while things have changed in recent years - society doesn't send the same message to them. Count the number of women's magazines vs. men's that hawk a particular mindset about appearance/health/fitness.

From a societal perspective, there is still a double standard.

But beyond that, I believe that many women do feel the pressure to look their best. I believe that we inflict this upon ourselves. I rebelled against that, probably to my detriment for many years. I honestly did not care what society said I should look like. It isn't something I valued highly or felt was worth spending a lot of time or effort on. At least that is what I told myself. Was I being totally honest with myself? I don't know.

I really didn't focus on my weight until my health and quality of life started to be affected. It was only then that I knew I needed to make a change. It was not for appearance reasons. At least, mostly not ;)

jayjay77
08-29-2009, 11:03 AM
Interesting. I worked in management consulting for a while and one of my male colleagues made a similiar remark that all the women were beautiful while most, but not all, of the guys were pretty geeky. Everyone had similiar intelligence and educational backgrounds.

My theory is that beautiful or attractive women have more self confidence to go into male dominated fields.

LaurieDawn
08-29-2009, 11:12 AM
Very insightful. Thanks for all of the wonderful, thought-provoking comments.

By the way, law school so far has been very helpful for my weight loss efforts. The fact that my kids are in school and I now have a window of time where I can work out, the wonderful work-out facility the school makes available to its students, and no longer working a full-time and part-time job has all made it possible for me to exercise regularly without as much challenge. I also don't want to lose an available minute of study/work-out time, so I am doing a good job of preparing and bringing my (healthy) meals.

I have decided to just let it go. Maybe it is sexism (for evolutionary reasons or societal pressure or whatever) that - at least from my limited perception - women in my newfound profession are supposed to have their weight under control. Regardless, I have decided to simply use it as motivation and let the rest of it go. At least for now. Whatever works, right?

JayEll
08-29-2009, 11:28 AM
Why the discrepency between the men and the women? The men are equally successful. Why is it seemingly acceptable for them to be overweight, bald, etc.?

Oh Laurie, this has been true for so long... It slowly gets chipped away at through the efforts of feminists--and btw that didn't used to be a dirty word--but it's still around. It's not fair but it has to be dealt with. It's OK to change a bit, if you can and you want to, to give yourself a better "chance," so to speak. These days, men dye their hair, have hair implants, etc. for a similar reason. Oh, and just for fun sometimes.

Good luck with your law school! :cheer2:

Jay

CountingDown
08-29-2009, 11:34 AM
By the way, law school so far has been very helpful for my weight loss efforts. The fact that my kids are in school and I now have a window of time where I can work out, the wonderful work-out facility the school makes available to its students, and no longer working a full-time and part-time job has all made it possible for me to exercise regularly without as much challenge. I also don't want to lose an available minute of study/work-out time, so I am doing a good job of preparing and bringing my (healthy) meals.

Environment is another key piece to your question. We've all seen the studies that say your friends/co-workers are making you fat. If your female law professors went to lunch together, what would they eat? Where would they go? Would the presence of the others, affect their individual choices?

I liken it back to my own work environment. If I bring in a birthday treat and set it in the break room at a school building - within an hour, it will be totally gone, and someone will probably even used a finger to clean out the pan ;)

If I take a birthday treat to central office, the group won't touch it until break time, where we all gather. During break, the men will eat one or two normal size portions. A couple of the women will eat a smaller portion, a couple will graba piece of fruit or other snack they brought from home, a couple will take just a tiny sliver, and then discreetly eat only a nibble, and a couple will get coffee or tea only - and bypass food all together.
At my high weight, I might have snuck into the break room AFTER and scarfed down a piece, but I probably would not have eaten two portions like some of the guys - just because of how everyone else was behaving.

If you read Mindless Eating it does zero in on this point. Your weight is very much affected by the company you keep.


In any case - :congrat: on your accomplishments so far, and I agree - I don't think it is worth thinking about. Keep your eye on YOUR goals, and you will do fine. In no way, shape, or form is beauty a requisite to your becoming an accomplished and fantastic lawyer!

caliyah
08-29-2009, 11:55 AM
THANKS so much for starting this thread!

So I recently just finished my Masters degree at a top private school this past May after graduating from a state school for undergrad. It was a big transition for me to make from a relaxed state school atmosphere where being overweight was not a big deal to a private school where all the women were dressed like their outfits came straight out of the latest issue of a fashion magazine.

I was always the fattest girl in class, fattest girl in lecture --- there were very very few obese or significantly overweight people at my school. So anyway I became the designated fat friend during grad school. My weight really ruined my self-confidence although I always conveyed to people I was 'happy'. And the professors weren't all necessary 'beautiful' but the majority of them, male or female, were not obese or overweight. I didn't start working on seriously losing weight until after I graduated--I was in an unsupportive environment and had become kinda depressed because it's not easy being in a competitive environment and really sticking out like that.

So anyway I had 2 years to think about this and I came to two conclusions:
1) Employers are more willing to hire skinny people. Me and an overweight friend of mine were discussing this at the job fair and basically as soon as someone overweight walked up to some employers it was like 'what do you want?' and they would not even greet us with any type of friendliness.
2) People in higher education typically have access to higher incomes and thus can spend more money maintaining a healthier lifestyle in comparison to people who come from middle and lower income brackets.

I'm in the middle of my job search now. Of course in the end your qualifications are what matter for most jobs but I guess it is the 'corporate' type and 'law' type jobs OUTSide of government jobs that always want to exclusively hire skinny/good looking people.

Trazey34
08-29-2009, 12:05 PM
hmmm must be an American thing LOL My DH is a lawyer, and teachers ethics at our University and all the women in that faculty are...shall we say... frumpy??? And haven't see 120 lbs. in 20 years.

better health3
08-29-2009, 12:49 PM
I can't really add to what has been said. I wanted to wish you all the luck and root for you. I hope you find it stimulating and challenging. Go you!

better health3
08-29-2009, 12:52 PM
People in higher education typically have access to higher incomes and thus can spend more money maintaining a healthier lifestyle

Hard work, dedication and consistency are available in all incomes.

caliyah
08-29-2009, 01:01 PM
Hard work, dedication and consistency are available in all incomes.

i agree but i guess what i meant to say was that gym memberships and healthy groceries etc. could be expensive for struggling students etc. but i realize yes i can walk and do other types of workouts or find cheap deals on groceries but it's not easy especially when life is hectic. but it's true obesity is a problem for everyone regardless of income but i guess when all of my classmates had memberships had top gyms and all you can do is walk around the block.... i just didn't have the motivation to walk around the block back then or run because i was self conscious. anyway it's the past, i'm out of that self defeating mindset now.

rosiem
08-29-2009, 01:39 PM
I am in law school as well and I think a lot of the ideas people have proposed here are true. Another thing is, the sad fact is law is very image-driven. I just did some interviews for firms and spent WAY longer getting my outfit together (suit, heels the lot) than i did figuring out what i was going to say in the actual interview! Pretty much everyone who gets into law school is smart so i guess maybe it's about giving yourself an edge?
That said I wish you all the best in your studies! It can be REALLY stressful especially around the end of the semester (those 100% exams can be killer) and it is terrific you are starting to exercise more regularly now before you get swamped, it is a great way to keep your cool. This is my plan for the year too, hope i can keep it up :-)
Also, don't worry if those other people are thinner than you- clearly you are there for a reason, it is easy in the cultish law-school mentality to forget who you are and what you want. God I make it sound awful don't I. Oh well, just remember, you are awesome :-)

salsa chip
08-29-2009, 01:54 PM
Can I pose a related "follow-on" question?

Some posters here have mentioned the attitude: driven, focussed, determined to be successful, etc. How can one develop that in oneself (I'm assuming a particular person isn't predetermined as it were to either be determined or not)?

At the moment my life seems shot to pieces, and I'd dearly love to have that kind of drive. But I don't know where I could get it from. I know there's the "withint yourself" answer, which may be accurate, but I'm looking for concrete methods of nurturing that, if my question makes sense :)

thisisnotatest
08-29-2009, 03:06 PM
Hi salsa

Some people are born with drive, others find it comes out through hard time, others have to build it step by step.
One way to start building your confidence (which is the backbone of everything else) is to start volunteering.
This is incredibly rewarding and let's you build skills in a pretty safe enviornment.

Also participating in any group activity, hiking if that's your thing, knitting, etc.

The point is to start getting used to acomplishing small goals in a public setting. You get feedback from others and start to feel comfortable with success.

I know a lot of girls played sports but I wasn't one of them. This is one area that I think boys (generally) have an advantage, as many more are encourage into team activities in their youth.

For myself, I had to start from scratch.

This skills can be learned.

rockinrobin
08-29-2009, 04:04 PM
Some posters here have mentioned the attitude: driven, focussed, determined to be successful, etc. How can one develop that in oneself (I'm assuming a particular person isn't predetermined as it were to either be determined or not)?

At the moment my life seems shot to pieces, and I'd dearly love to have that kind of drive. But I don't know where I could get it from. I know there's the "withint yourself" answer, which may be accurate, but I'm looking for concrete methods of nurturing that, if my question makes sense :)

Require more from yourself. I think that's a first step. And yes, you've got to find it from within. It's there. We've all got the ability. Some may just have to dig down deeper to find it. Raise your work ethic. Raise your standard. Self- respect. Self discipline.

You DECIDE you want something, then map out a course of action, a plan to go and get it done. You COMMIT to "doing it" and then you don't stop till it's done. You make it a FOCUS, a PRIORITY, accepting no excuses and letting no obstacles stand in your way. Decide to do something and it shall be done. Focus. Prioritize. Determination. Perseverance. Commit.

:hug::hug::hug:

LaurieDawn
08-29-2009, 04:26 PM
I LOVE this forum. We are all such different people, but so supportive and loving of one another. And such true wisdom.

I just want to say that I absolutely feel like I belong here. I am at a "Tier 3" school (which means it's one of the easiest to get into), and my GPA and LSAT scores were strong enough that I got an invitation from Harvard to apply there. I am location-bound, though, and this school has such a warm, inviting atmosphere that I am glad that I am here. My ability to conquer this material has nothing to do with weight.

I know I am smart enough to be here. I guess I was indulging some paranoia that I wouldn't be accepted in this field after I got my degree simply because all of the role models for success are very thin.

Bombe
08-29-2009, 04:27 PM
I read an interesting report a little while back about a study they did on attractiveness and basically the findings were that people subconsciously judged others that were physically attractive as smarter, friendlier and more successful. So based on that beauty can get you places, not all by itself but it can help.

giselley
08-29-2009, 04:43 PM
Have you ever heard about the statistic which says that highly educated women (people really) tend to be thin? I think that it is true in many respects. Women growing up in sucessfull families tend to be encouraged to remain not only thin, but also physically fit. Many may have "lettered" in school, or gone out for cheerleading or debate or other club which encouraged a good body form. Thinness really tells others that you care abut your personal appearance. Many woman who are married to sucessfull men also would not allow themselves go. Often women like this are meticulously well gromed. The hair, the clothes, the fingernails, and the small dress size. Why? Well-- marriageablity may have something to do with it. If you were a rich lawyer (male) would you prefer the blond with news-anchor looks or the puffalump dressed in a mumu? I think you know the answer. The puffalump might be just as intellegent, but for soe reason they want old-boney. I like Michelle Obama because she looks like a real woman, but she also is extremely well groomed and looks a lot prettier than she would look in bunny slippers and a wife-beater (what a picture!)

These ladies (the professors) have most likely been seeking this job since they were very young and knew that in the end they would have to look like top flight professionals (in law school).

sunflowergirl68
08-29-2009, 09:59 PM
I think being thin and attractive helps, but it can only get you so far.

For example, it doesn't get you into law school. It doesn't get you good grades. It doesn't make you understand the material. But it can get you a job, unfortunately.

I also wonder if there is a correlation between education and high-paying jobs and attractiveness and health.

Some people commit their perfectionism to looks, others to other areas, some to both.

It's also possible that they were always fit and thin because of them being driven. Or it could be from their families. For example, at my high school, it was rare to see an overweight person. There just weren't that many. I went to a private Catholic school in south Orange County, so it also had to do with the culture of the area. Also, so many people were involved with sports and had rigorous academic goals so that could also prevent one from being overweight (like studying so much and not having time to eat) to having a two-parent household.

I also really think it depends on each person's background. In some areas around the country, it's almost unacceptable by the community to be overweight and being fit and healthy is encouraged and praised. In other parts of the country, the culture of food and home cooking and family gatherings is more important. So it's possible that it's also their home culture.

Nice insights, and congrats on law school!