Research: Half of Kenyan men would dump a woman for gaining weight

  • Increase in weight among women is an emotional grenade that is blowing up relationships and marriages
  • Apparently most men would ditch their girlfriends or, the married ones, start cheating on their wives if they grew fat

The government recently did a health survey among Kenyans. The study, Ministry of Health Survey revealed that nearly half of Kenyan men are malnourished, whilst slightly more than half of the women are overweight.

The report revealed a lot. For instance, it showed, most bachelors are malnourished because they have no woman to take care of their dietary needs. Due to this, some skip meals, whilst others eat bad food.

Contrary to popular perception, women eat more than men. Some keep bites in handbags, which they keep nibbling on every now and then. Others regularly ‘taste food’ while cooking, they still feast once they serve the food and are the ones who clear leftovers before cooking the next meal!

Could this be reason why they like cheing gum, perhaps just to keep their jaws fit? Well, following this development, Crazy Monday went further and did a random check, trying to find out how Kenyans feel about this weighty matter of men getting more malnourished as women become obese.

A lot emerged, chief among them being that almost half of men would dump a partner, especially those still dating, for gaining weight.

Out of the young men we talked to, slightly over half of them said gaining weight is sufficient grounds for dumping a woman.

Among the married men, gaining weight among wives is one of the reasons men start cheating, or get a second wife.

Oddly, only two per cent of women said they would dump a man for gaining weight.

As many said, men, being the visual creatures that they are, are more concerned with their partner’s body type than women.

Ladies value family more than men

Partly because, as it emerged, to most of women, family or being seen to be in a stable relationship is a status symbol of sorts.

“A man’s physical look is in most cases a non-issue. So long as he is nice, loving, caring and pays the bills, how much weight he puts on is neither here nor there,” says Alice Nduta, a banker in Nairobi.

Unlike the women we talked to, most men confessed of having fantasised about other women, especially neighbours’ wives, colleagues or strangers who look better than their women.

Felix Sigei, a taxi driver, argued that men are biologically predisposed to put a big premium on a woman’s physical look.

He argued that as soon as a lust-inspiring image registers in a man’s brain, he gets turned-on, not only physically but psychologically, too.

Thus, even though most values their relationships and marriages, a mere decline in his attraction to his woman physically, makes cheating or change of allegiance very likely.

Hear him: “Exposure to an erotic stimuli such as a beautiful woman immediately activates the parts of most men’s brain related to getting an erection. So, as much as we may want to pretend here about self-control, dignity and all, immediately a man sees a woman who is prettier, especially when his own woman is no longer taking care of herself by keeping in shape, he will be tempted to hit on her.”

According to the government report, more urban-based women are overweight and obese because they are predisposed to inactive lifestyles and intake of highly refined diets. Something that Philip Anunda, a city-based technician, concurs with.

“Being breadwinners, most men sacrifice a lot, just to ensure their families are comfortable. We deny ourselves good clothing, shoes and other forms of luxuries for our families to enjoy. As wives, many of whom are housebound, sit, watch TV and eat, men are always out here sweating it out,” he says.

But even as men complain about overweight women, it is a matter that the womenfolk are grappling with. Apparently, major casualties of ‘mixed weight’ relationships prejudices are always plus size women.

Double standards perpetuated by society, especially men

Things have continue to get thick for such women as they suffer in silence. Luckily for chubby men, unlike their female counterparts, they pass off as ‘attractive’ if they happen to be rich or powerful.

Women always overlook weight and find something, just anything to compliment. “Gosh, you have nice elbows (or knees, or armpits or kisogo),” one would complement.

It’s amazing how men get away with being overweight. Unlike plus size women, bulky and potbellied men have an easy time getting slender or fit spouses, because women have this rare ability to look beyond a man’s physical appearance and focus on the so-called ‘inner qualities’ such as kindness.

Take Harriet, who is overweight, for instance. She says she has lost most of her boyfriends to slender women, and she suspects her weight is to blame.

Apparently, increase in weight among women (unlike in men) is an emotional grenade that is blowing up relationships and even marriages.

“In most cases, men are never confident enough to talk to their women about their weight"

Tales have been told of men who, despite having taken the famous “through thick and thin” vows to stick by their spouses, begin cheating on them the moment they gain weight.

After childbirth, some women gain weight, which, in some cases, takes long to get shed off. That, unfortunately, is when some men are reported to start cheating or installing second wives.

“Big women go through hell to keep their lovers. Little wonder then, that, most of the fat people you see nowadays sweating it out in gyms or doing morning runs on the roads are women. Thing is, most are desperate to save their marriages,” says Joy, a plus size single mum who believes men are overlooking her because of her weight.

Weight loss is a big battle that many women secretly fight tooth and nail, with some going on weird diets, others hitting the gym and others going for surgery. The pressure to look fit is real for women, especially after marriage or child birth.

Seemingly, the perception that ‘slender women’ are beautiful is still prevalent. Perhaps it’s time we threw our weights behind chubby women, in a bid to dispel the notion that ‘fat’ is ‘ugly’?

However, all is not lost for our plus size sisters. There are men who love such body types. Steve is one of them. He says a woman’s weight is always the elephant in the room in relationships and marriage. He says discussing a woman’s weight is sensitive, and at times raw rage can boil over.

“In most cases, men are never confident enough to talk to their women about their weight. Most would hint to her to do something about it. But such talk always escalate into full-blown verbal fights, with sex life being the biggest casualty,” says Steve, confessing that he has a fetish for ‘big’ women.

Perhaps it’s high time men became considerate and understanding? Studies show that most men, unlike women, possess the so-called ‘skinny genes’. Thus, despite their bad eating habits, they hardly grow fat. The story is, however, different for women. A long out-of-town-weekend, characterised with heavy feeding and drinking alone is enough to make her balloon out of shape.

But here’s the thing gentlemen: Women gain weight for many reasons, some of which are extremely difficult to control. From childbirth, onset of menopause, to the use of family planning contraceptives.

Bottom line? Accepting physical changes in the one you love is part of making a long-term partnership work.