Fat female defendants more likely to receive guilty verdict from male jurors than thinner thugs

A research study by a team of psychologists at Yale University has found that perception of female guilt by male jurors—but not female—is proportionate to how fat the defendant is.

In other words, you are literally more likely to get away with murder if you’re a thin woman and a dude is behind the stand.

The study, according to Slate, “corralled a group of 471 pretend peers of varying body sizes and described to them a case of check fraud. They also presented them with one of four images—either a large guy, a lean guy, a large woman, or a lean woman—and identified the person in the photograph as the defendant. Participants rated the pretend-defendant’s guilt on a five-point scale. No fat bias emerged when the female pretend peers evaluated the female pretend defendants or when either men or women assessed the guilt of the men. But when the male pretend peers pronounced judgment on the female pretend defendants, BMI prejudice reared up.”

This news comes hot off the heels of another study released this week that found – for lack of a better word – hotter Aussie males were expected to rake in an extra $32,150 than their less babin’ co-workers, re-affirming that though we think we’re a progressive group of superior human specimens, ugly-prejudice remains rife. Of course, it is a well known fact that “attractive defendants are found guilty less often” and the Halo-effect has an almost century-long canon of research behind it. Sad.

Digressions aside, the new findings presented have an array of theories (as if such bigotry need quasi-scientific rationalisations) as to why jurors place heavier verdicts on the shoulders of overweight women: One, a deeply embedded cultural stereotype is that larger women are from less fortunate socioeconomic backgrounds (conversely, the narrative that only rich people are thin and beautiful) and must therefore pursue the Thug Lyf to survive; and two, “obese people [are perceived] as greedy and selfish.”

The writer of the Slate article presents another interesting hypothesis though, posing that “perhaps we (especially we lean men) associate heavier women (but not heavier men) with impaired impulse control, since obviously all female people (but not all male people) want desperately to be thin and are only not so when they can’t regulate their Cinnabon cravings.” A resolute analysis, if I do say so myself.

More depressing results can be found here.

[via Slate, lead image via Shutterstock]

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