We see it all the time in the media: Female celebrities are often ridiculed for going to the grocery store makeup-free. And male celebrities are made fun of for starting to lose their hair.
And there are multiple beauty ads all around us that are often targeted toward teens and young adults, causing them to worry about their weight and appearance, especially at such a young age. And there are so many more instances; it seems like we’re bombarded with impossible standards at every turn.
It’s all pretty tragic, really. But this one absolutely takes the cake.
As it turns out, one’s appearance may also have an effect on their career and even how much money one will make.
A 2016 study published in the British Medical Journal found that “being a genetically overweight woman or a short man is correlated with a lower salary.”
The researchers’ aim was “to determine whether height and body mass index (BMI) have a causal role in five measures of socioeconomic status.”
They looked at 119,669 participants, both men, and women, in the U.K. between the ages of 37 to 73, whose genetic variances had such influence on both their height and their weight.
And they found the following results:
- Men: for every 2.5 inches of extra height, men earned $1,611 more annually, and 12 percent were more likely to have high-end jobs.
- Women: for every 4.6-point increase in their weight, they earned only an average of $4,200 less annually.
The results of the study found that BMI and height do play a role in determining many different aspects of someone’s socioeconomic standing. This is especially true in relation to a woman’s BMI for income and a man’s income, education, and job class in relation to his height.
“These findings have important social and health implications, supporting evidence that overweight people, especially women, are at a disadvantage, and that taller people, especially men, are at an advantage,” the study concluded.
Yes, it’s definitely a rather depressing study, but it’s also important to remember that correlation does not equal causation.
According to the researchers, this means that “taller stature and lower BMI may causally improve socioeconomic status through discrimination against shorter and fatter people or differences in self-esteem that affect employability.”
This might mean that potential employers may display disbelief at a possible success for short men and overweight women, which, in turn, causes a self-fulfilling prophecy, due to both insecurity and doubt.
So, you just keep doing you, regardless of what society may deem as “beautiful.” In the end, it’s your accomplishments that really determine your merit, not your looks.
Caithlin PenaCaithlin Pena is a journalist and reporter covering entertainment and news, relationships, and pop culture. Her work has appeared on NYC News Service, TODAY, YourTango, and NBC.