Big BMI’ed girls they make the rockin’ world go round

Body mass index, or BMI, is a measure to determine if a person is overweight. It’s just weight over height squared. (Calculate yours here.) In any sensible society, this would be recognized for the very approximate measure that it is, since muscle mass or bone structure or fitness isn’t taken into account.

Of course, there’s no sense at all in the way our society sees weight. Putting aside the health insurance incentives, that little BMI number tells you just how much you should hate yourself – a little? a lot? never leave the house again? Even if the BMI tells you that you’re not a grotesque hippo-whale, the deluge of fashion/celebity/porn culture means that somebody else will – I once heard a claim that every woman who “took care of herself” should look like Padma Lakshmi.

Fortunately, Kate Harding’s new project, Illustrated BMI Categories, is a fine antidote. She has posted photos of people with a range of body types, along with their heights, weights, and BMIs. Looking at it, I realized that I have no idea what real people weigh – most people were way heavier than I thought they were. (And since I am way heavier than people think I am, I should know better.) For women, I kinda think that everyone has these Cosmo-Maxim-trashy-novel numbers stuck in their heads – 100 lbs is tiny, 120 lbs is hot, 140 lbs is curvy, 160 lbs is obese, 180 lbs is inconceivable.

But don’t worry. If all this BMI crap gets you down, treadmill-cat will show you proper fitness technique.

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10 Responses to Big BMI’ed girls they make the rockin’ world go round

  1. scott says:

    (1) That is amazing. I wish they’d have more men on there, but I’m going to email this to like everybody I know, including my mom.

    (2) Including that cat video, which had me laughing until I cried over my coffee. Funniest thing I’ve seen in a long time. I’m just happy my little Ormus is svelte.

  2. This post was in fact inspired by past conversation with you. As for more men, Harding says that she’s looking for more, but the male readership on a feminist body image blogs isn’t exactly teeming. If you know anyone who’d be into submitting a photo, I’m sure she’ll post it.

    And ZOMG! send your mom the blog post! I want to be TOP SCIENCE BLOG in your hometown. :>)

  3. kateharding says:

    (1) That is amazing. I wish they’d have more men on there, but I’m going to email this to like everybody I know, including my mom.

    Scott, I’d love to include more men, but Miriam is right about the reason why I don’t. If you want to send a pic, it’s katesblog at gmail dot com. I’d also love to include more people of color, btw.

  4. kateharding says:

    The reason why I haven’t so far, not the reason why I don’t, I should say.

  5. jebyrnes says:

    You may also want to check out the photographic height/weight chart – it’s got more men on it, too.

  6. Scott's Mom says:

    After viewing the “galary”, I’m not sure which catergory I belong in… hah!! All I know is at my age I should stay away from most of the fashion statements!!! Also, I have a great affinity for the cat.

  7. […] remember my post a while back on how BMI does not really correlate with what we think of as fat? NPR reports that your friendly […]

  8. […] Shame   Being of the short and busty type (hi, fellow Jewish women!), I’ve long had a contentious relationship with the metric of Body Mass Index. Even when I was climbing large mountains every day […]

  9. Training A Kitten…

    […]Big BMI’ed girls they make the rockin’ world go round « The Oyster’s Garter[…]…

  10. realtor says:

    realtor…

    […]Big BMI’ed girls they make the rockin’ world go round « The Oyster’s Garter[…]…

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