Professional 'Women' Fora

I belong to a popular professional on-line network, and I joined two groups for women in particular professions. Both boards address issues of particular concern to women.

One board posts a lot about differential salary surveys, the importance of mentoring, body language during negotiations, and really weird stuff, like upcoming changes in applicable regulations.

The other board posts about work life balance, emotional intelligence, sociological studies on the difference between men and women, body language, and that oh-so-important-professional issue …

Weight loss.

Yeah, weight loss.

Well, pardon the … (we can still swear here, can’t we?) … pardon the fuck out of me, but what the hell does weight loss have to do with my profession?

Yes, we all need to be more active and eat fewer processed foods. (And you, my brothers, can join us.) Yes, we are held to a hire standard of personal appearance than our brothers. (Maybe.)

But I am just sick to shit of all these socially defined ‘women’s issues’ on professional boards. Salary is a women’s issue; regulation is a women’s issue; shifting market demand is a women’s issue. Health, appearance and presentation, social expectations, ‘office politics’, and, yes, even the dreaded ‘work-life balance’ are human issues.

Auditing a company in an industry and country with low incidences of women in authority, now that’s a women’s issue our brothers might not be interested in - unless they’re software engineers in the US (because I’ve got an SME that will be ripping your validation policy to shreds while you’re still thinking she’s kind of cute). (Yes, she is, and no, you can’t have her number.)

So, please, “women’s” professional boards, please stick to salary surveys, glass ceilings, and where to find cute shoes that can hold up to construction sites.

Okay, you can list good house-cleaning services.

And a little advice to our brothers that, no, you can’t ask the auditor for a date, is acceptable, too.

On review:
My feeling are much more vitriolic than my post.


Perhaps the idea is that becoming overweight doesn’t affect a man’s career trajectory very much but it does with a woman’s?

Perhaps, but, there are many elements that sociologists suggest might differentially effect a career trajectory according to gender, and …

[obscene rant alert]


If I want to read about weight loss I will read Vogue, Elle, or a medical journal.


Thank you.

I totally feel the OP. I mean, how dare these fat bitches think that discussing a shared concern in an environment in which they feel comfortable is acceptable?

I don’t understand. Being fit and demonstrating that you can take care of yourself is important to any gender’s career, just as effectively negotiating your salary is, or changing market demands, or keeping your life in proper balance. If you can’t be responsible for yourself, your clients will wonder if you can be responsible for their interests. Don’t really see too many overweight CEOs.

How about a subject that is almost exclusive to women? Perhaps… lip gloss?

Because if it comes down to a skinny hot chick and some fat chick, who do you think is getting the job? It may not be fair, but that’s the way the way it works.

Hey, at least all you have to do is lose weight! I have to figure out how to look taller and make my hair go grey prematurely!

Get married. Seems to work for me. :frowning:

If you’re in a construction site you should be wearing safety shoes. No, those don’t come in heels: you get the choice of rubber-soled vs leather-soled and steel-toes vs non.

Agreed on the weight-loss thing.

Eating right and getting enough exercise might be more difficult if you work long hours and do a lot of business travel.

Well, you just underscored her point. The point is that weight issues are not ONLY women’s issues. Men have weight issues as well. You said it yourself, it’s just as important to any gender’s career.

So the purpose of the forum in question is to discuss professional women’s issues. There are a million other places to discuss weight issues, career-related or otherwise. I think the OP is saying that certain fora participants are getting ground down in topics that are not quite as relevant as they seem to think. As if only women have weight problems.

I are a dude, so the loud chorus of “you don’t get it” is just fine. That said…

I was asked to attend a women’s professional group luncheon long ago honoring a student of mine. I sat and listened while introductions were made, with repeated descriptions of the next honoree focusing on such business critical components as hairstyle, weight, and clothes.

I have attended hundreds of professional group meetings (that are predominantly men) and the ONLY side comments like that MIGHT be about someone’s recent golf game as a joke. The introductions are 95% education, positions held, and amazing business accomplishments.

So I agree/sympathize with the OP - sometimes even the women’s groups are holding their gender back by focusing on the wrong stuff.

If you are sick to shit of hearing about elements that might differentially effect a career trajectory according to gender, why don’t you stop reading professional women’s fora?

Salary, regulations, and shifting market demand are all professional issues, not women’s issues.

Even given that there is a real disparity between what men and women are paid for the same work, should a woman negotiate for her salary differently than a man should? And if so, how.

I can understand being sick of seeing it; hell, I find it tiring just seeing the women’s magazines at the grocery stores always selling some new diet or weight loss tips. You may not see it as a women’s issue, but it seems to me that weight loss, like it or not, is something that women are interested in to a much greater degree than men are. It’s not surprising that it comes up.

To give a counter-analogy, men are generally more interested in sports. If sports were to come up in a men’s version of those sorts of discussion groups, I wouldn’t be surprised. Hell, just like how losing weight can potentially help someone on a job hunt, it’s not unheard of that sports talk can give someone an edge on a job too.

In short, they’re women who have other things in common, but they still have being women in common, so those things will come up. Yeah, I bet a lot of those discussions are utterly useless and boring, but short of finding a way to change our culture, it just isn’t worth getting upset over it.

Madam, there is only one kind of “professional woman” and body weight might directly affect her earning capacity.


She should start by asking for more than she’s offered at first.

Seriously, in my former position, I was a hiring manager. I hired for professional and nonprofessional positions. With one exception, all of the male candidates that I made an offer to asked me for more. None of the female candidates ever negotiated. The conversations go like this:

BossZilla: Blah, blah, blah, corporate bullshit, and so we’d like to offer you the position starting immediately at $26K per year plus a full complement of benefits. [Note to audience: this figure was the base salary that was budgeted for the position. If I gave the person more, I had to justify whatever case they built for it, i.e., more experience at XYZ skill. The excess came out of savings that occurred because the position was open for a while.]

Male Candidate: Hm. That seems a little low. Is there any wiggle room?

BossZilla: I might have a little bit of savings in my salary budget. What did you have in mind?

Male Candidate: How about $36K?

BossZilla: Well, that’s a little higher than I can offer you. How about I meet you in the middle? Will you accept the position at $31K?

Male Candidate: Yes!

BossZilla: Welcome aboard!

BossZilla: Blah, blah, blah, corporate bullshit, and so we’d like to offer you the position starting immediately at $26K per year plus a full complement of (mostly useless) benefits.

Female Candidate: Um… erm… :: looks disappointed :: Okay. That’ll be okay, I guess.

At that point, as the manager, I can’t really say, “Gee, are you sure? Why don’t you ask me for more money?” That’s totally the candidate’s opportunity right there. I never once saw a woman try. Later, after working for me for a couple years, they’d come to me and try to ask for a raise for essentially nothing (not adding any particular value in terms of revenue or savings to the organization) and then be really upset for not supporting Women in the Workplace.

Men aren’t afraid to pipe up and ask. But women are socialized to be pleasers and not rock the boat and the younger one is, the more difficult it is to assert herself and ask for more money. When a man asserts himself, he is a strong, independent man. When a woman asserts herself, she might be labeled a bitch or a ballbuster. After a certain degree of confidence and self-possession is gained, women tend to learn to negotiate better. I know after that hiring experience, the next time I was offered a job, you can be damn sure that I asked for about 10% more than they offered. I got it, too. :cool:

Please note, the starting salary I offered was the same first offer regardless of gender. I was not in a position to coach the female candidates on how to negotiate more money out of me. In six years of hiring, only one guy took the first offer I made without asking for a penny more. He could have gotten $3-4K more if he’d just asked.

No, I can think of several, actually:

Hooter’s server
Dancer (any kind, exotic to ballet)
Cable news anchor

Pretty people always get preferential treatment. Thus losing wieght is a good topic for ALL professionals.

Ice skater
Professional athlete of any sport, actually
Race Car driver (There are at least four on the Indy car circuit right now and several more in the Indy lights series. If any one of those women put on 50 pounds, they wouldn’t fit into their race cars!)