First I laughed, then I cried a little inside

Obesity and teenage sex have become social and public health issues in developed countries. This column looks at the affects of being overweight on attitudes to sex among teenage girls in the US. While obesity is associated with less vaginal intercourse, overweight teenage girls are at least 15% more likely to have had anal sex, with a high chance of sexually transmitted disease.

The juxtaposition set off that little wirble in my head that makes me laugh. After a momentary pause, I thought about it a little more and began to realise that this wasn’t funny at all.

If we assume that the distribution of those teenage girls who enjoy anal sex is unaffected by weight, then it seems that fat girls are forced into anal sex which they don’t really want.

Not coerced in any criminal way, but through lack of self-esteem it seems that women are being forced to do things which they otherwise wouldn’t want to do.

From a consequentialist point of view, this obviously has negative affects on someone’s chances of contracting various sexually transmitted infections. Looking to someone’s capacity to make themselves happy, this is bad as well. 

This appears to be one of those sad things about which there is very little one can do, other than try to improve access to sexual health advice.

I had scheduled this for Sunday, but as I see Tim has just posted on it, I thought I’d offer teh interwebs a more grown up look at this.


13 thoughts on “First I laughed, then I cried a little inside

  1. There is an important point underneath my joyous vulgarity there.

    We’re repeatedly told, us market types, that we’re truly horrible for “marketising” everything. To which the repsonse is, but just about everything actually is a market, as that paper shows.

    It may not be a cash market but even something as distantly far from a cash market like teenage dating is indeed a market. Peeps have desires and they have assets which they can trade to try and meet those desires.

    It’s a market, like so much of life, and can thus be analysed as such a market.

    1. I am aware you’re not actually a bastard, and I obviously had the same initial reaction as you.

      Sometimes you seem to use things to vindicate your own opinions rather than an opportunity to evaluate them.

      At the moment the market clears only when fat girls offer more anal than they normally would (talking in market terms is kinda clear, but not very nice), this doesn’t occur in a vacuum however. Fat people are stigmatised to an extent which bears no relation to anything innate, so I’m not sure we can call the market outcome really optional at the moment.

      Of course a central planner would just line us all up in two queues in declining order of attractiveness and we’d pair off, which although this probably would have saved me lots of money and effort on nights out, it would take some of the fun out of it.

  2. Fat girls doing ‘owt is a truth as old as time.

    They are grateful for what they get and men, being piggy bastards, take them up on the offer.

    Horrible stuff but humans are pretty grim.

  3. “Of course a central planner would just line us all up in two queues in declining order of attractiveness and we’d pair off,”


    Because it is status which is being traded, not looks. For different societies have different looks which gain status…..there are some nomadic herder types in West Africa who still take fat (fat to the point of real obesity) as indicating great status and desirability (as being a bit chunky indicates status in most/all calorie constrained societies).

    Similarly status is not solely gained through looks. There are other hierarchies as well…..accent, dress, height, wealth (which is how short fat bald billionaires get the hot blondes) intelligence, loquacity (which is how John Diamond got Nigella and a cruel joke that fate played upon him later) and so on and so on.

    There are happy pairings off based on a shared love of line dancing….a trait which would have me running for the hills even if a young Rula Lenska had shown a willingness to polish my gonads as her most heartfelt, lifelong, wish.

    This is a telling typo:

    “so I’m not sure we can call the market outcome really optional ”

    You mean of course optimal…..and here we really come to my basic point about much more than whether fat should be the market which our current society uses as a marker of desirability (and which others use but in the opposite direction….indeed our own used to use it in the opposite direction).

    It’s the difference between normative and positive…..while, in a normative sense we might not like the current market outcome, regarding it as non optimal (although, to be honest, as someone who rather likes a touch of heft and no, not because I’m particularly into buggery, the current market outcome is just fine and dandy for me), that’s got absolutely bugger all to do with the positive point that it is a market, we can analyse it as such and doing so really isn’t optional.

    1. Haha, good typo, I am at work, so typing at speed (although as I work in the letters department, I really should have the hang of this now).

      Good point about status, incidentally the country is mauritania I believe where you’ll find your fat women (in fact it is kinda cruel, female children are force fed milk to the point of vomitting to promote rapid weight gain).

      Yes, my cental planner point was flippant, no one is that shallow.

      Normative versus positive it definitely is. Personally I like a bit of chub too, so this works out fine for me (to an extent, the weird (to me, but understandable) obsession with their own weight is one thing which I find confusing and boring about lots of women) but frankly I’m not interested in politics to make the world exactly in my own image.

    1. Heh, like Tim said, it isn’t strictly about weight, its about status.

      I don’t think if these women lost weight it would result in a more equal distribution of status, therefore the “extra” amount of anal wouldn’t vanish.

      1. Hmmm… that’s interesting. I guess you could say exactly the same thing about money, if you think about it.

        1. A point that I love making.

          In our current society we do, to an extent, associate status with cash (although a lot less than soem seem to think. Polly Toynbee has higher status than any number of bankers on 50 times her wages).

          But if we equalised incomes we’d just end up replacing that status hierarchy with some other method. For there will be a status hierarchy, that’s inevitable in any species where a man’s (especially) chances for a legover depend upon said status.

        2. I’ve always thought men are the romantic ones.

          Ask a woman what she looks like in a man and about 50% of the time she’ll say money first there’s a 50% chance the remaining half will say money second. Saying that is my personal tip in my “How to become unattractive in under 5 seconds.” You hardly hear a man saying something like that.

          I suppose to a certain extent it is how girls and boys are raised, but a little freethinking isn’t too much to ask or in a prospective partner is it?

          1. but a little freethinking isn’t too much to ask or in a prospective partner is it?

            I’ve never been greatly impressed by those who charge to think that’s for use.

            Or charge for anything else come to that….

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