As a popular, witty blog of note, we feel motivated to deliver this message:
The cult popularity of skinniness, while seductive like Hedwig's more provocative dance numbers, doesn't really deliver on the making-your-life-suck-less front.
Take it from someone whose closet contains 2s, 4s, 6s, 8s, and 10s. (I'm a real-life statistician, so you can trust me):
Let X=dress size.
Let Y=relative happiness, measured by the inverse of the number of times folks on the streets tell you to smile.
Given the cultural belief that skinnier selves are happier selves, let the null hypothesis be (where a is just some scaling factor):
After a long data collection period (we're talking over a decade here) with significant variation in the independent variable, and through ordinary least squares regression, I have rejected the null at alpha=0.01 and developed this crappy model, whose r-squared value reflects that the unexplained variation is pretty much all the variation:
Skinnier = more people telling me to smile. By a large factor. And if you've never been told to smile by a stranger, then I'll let you know this: It sucks.
If only emotions listened to econometric reason the way the Federal government does, maybe there would be implications.
A. Gander (2009, forthcoming)