It’s been a rough year for women struggling with their weight.
Almost 50 percent of men surveyed in a new poll of 70,000 people said they would leave a partner who gained weight, reports MSNBC. In contrast, only 20 percent of women said they would ditch a significant other for putting on extra pounds.
James Bassil, editor-in-chief of AskMen, which cosponsored the poll with Cosmopolitan.com, said the study showed that “some romantic behaviors have proven to be timeless ones” including the notion that “size matters.”
The survey results aren’t the only recent data to indicate that men consider a woman’s weight when evaluating a relationship. Last month, a study claimed that both husbands and wives were more satisfied with their marriages when the wife had a lower body mass index than the husband.
Defending her findings, Andrea Meltzer, lead author of the study, told ABC News, “It’s relative weight that matters, not absolute weight. It’s not that [women] have to be small.”
The study didn’t explore exactly how relative weight influences marital happiness.
Earlier this year, research suggested that a woman’s weight may effect more than her relationships. A University of Michigan study found that in Iceland, the higher a woman’s weight, the less likely she was to be employed. For men, higher weight was correlated with an increase in employment rates.
MSNBC, which covered the study under the headline, “Those extra pounds can hurt you at work, ladies,” reported that another recent study, this one out of the University of Florida, found that women 25 pounds over the average weight earn $13,847 less per year than average-weight women.
But worrying too much about weight can also hurt a woman’s career, according to a survey conducted by Dove in May. Fifteen percent of the 445 women who participated said worry about their appearance had gotten in the way of their career advancement, and 20 percent said body concerns affected their day-to-day lives. And yet another study claimed that better body image helps women lose weight.
In other words, data tells women who are overweight, or think they are, that their body size can be problematic for their relationships and their careers. Yet worrying or feeling bad about it may hurt them at work and their chances of losing weight.
Men aren’t without their own body anxiety, of course. The AskMen/Cosmopolitan.com survey found that 51 percent of men wished they had a larger penis. However, unlike men, whose responses might reinforce women’s insecurities about their bodies, only 18 percent of women said they wished their partner were better endowed.
Here are a few other findings from the survey, according to Reuters:
•Male birth control: Both men and women liked the idea of a male birth control pill, in contrast to a recent New York Times article on male contraceptives stating that it’s unclear whether men would use the pill.
•Digital infidelity: 75 percent of men surveyed equated sexting with cheating. Two thirds of men had no problem with a partner friending an old flame on Facebook, but only 38 percent of women were okay with it.
•Ultimate status symbol: 39 percent of men said family. 43 percent of women said a beautiful home, and 25 percent of women said a successful partner.
•Kiss and tell: 50 percent of men said they had lied about their number of past sex partners, whereas only 35 percent of women had.
•Who pays the bill: 38 percent of women said they should pay for themselves, while percent said men should. 59 percent of men said they should treat, at least at the beginning of a relationship.