I was struck recently by the observation that teenaged males of the lower socio-economic classes seem to be larger than the teenaged males of the upper socio-economic classes. Not fatter necessarily, and not larger in a weightlifting gym rat kind of way either. They just seem to have more mass about them.
The GSS data (and by the way, isn’t the GSS just the absolute coolest policy nerd website ever?) is mixed. Middle and upper class males tend to be over-represented among respondents of average weight, but otherwise no clear pattern emerges. (Among women, in contrast, the data is nigh linear: whether measured by WORDSUM, DEGREE, or CLASS, a woman’s weight drops as her intelligence, education, and social class improves.) The GSS only surveys adults over 18, so it doesn’t really help answering the question directly. There is the possibility that class differentials in sexual selection account for differentials in size, but I would expect to see the pattern among adults as well as children.
- My generalization is without merit.
- Behaviors over-represented among lower-class teens – manner and body-language – leverage greater body mass more effectively than do middle-class behaviors, making the mass more noticeable.
- For reasons we don’t fully understand, intelligence and age of puberty are inversely related. Lower-class parents give birth to lower-intelligence, faster maturing children who, at any given age between 11 and 17, will be larger than their more intelligent, slower maturing upper-class peers.