Annotated Illustrated BMI Categories

Some woman put together an Illustrated BMI Categories set on Flickr “to demonstrate just how ridiculous the BMI standards are.” Ouch, sorry, own goal.

Here’s the owner’s blog post on the project, with delicious comments. Example: “All the women in the ‘overweight’ range and about half in the ‘obese’ range look to me like they should be labeled ‘normal.’ ”

This is not news. We (meaning men) know that you (meaning fat women) desperately want to believe that. You shall find these annotations a helpful corrective:

Starry-bodiced Amanda is cute, but decidedly underweight.

The editorializing is pathetic: “Julia is 3 and a half lbs. shy of ‘overweight.’” I lose 3 and a half pounds when I make number one and two at the same time.

BuffPuff deserves that blouse, if only for the choice of name.

Beth may be morbidly obese, but it appears she carries most of it in her upper arms. It may even all be in her upper LEFT arm.

Crouching fish-eye, hidden torso’s photo gives us zero information about her body size, and is therefore proof of the author’s bad faith.

HLB is “obese”: Scare quotes are just not necessary here.

Moxie: I would hit that. Hard, repeatedly, without mercy.

Dani is “emo”.

Misty is “Sean Lennon”

Teh Portly Dyke is “a good description”

Steven took a picture of himself in the mirror.

Kell is playing Remedial Twister.

Petulant is a man wearing a beret. Are those New Rock boots?

Julia is no Summer Roberts.

Rory has visible armpit hair. This wouldn’t be bad per se, except that it’s longer than her actual head hair.

Triathlete Jessica is the only woman depicted whose naively calculated BMI could actually justify the debunking project.

Aelinn‘s photo is 360 x 283 pixels. She could be Roscoe Arbuckle for all I can see.

Stacy is blowing up a balloon to celebrate Milton Friedman’s rookie year with the Sox. Or is that Peter Duesberg?

Jeff is leaning in toward Jana. She’s tilting her head away from him.

Kari is like “Carrie”, but spelled with a K and only one R and no E and pronounced “cah-ree”.

Kate is about to lose her wheatgrass smoothie.

Jackie (center) is pre-op.

Some of the data stinks:

I knew a 5′7″, 225 pounder. A 5′7″, 225 pounder was a friend of mine. Fillyjonk, you’re no 5′7″, 225 pounder.

I call shenanigans on This Kate’s stats. That is one slinky woman.

Matt is lying about his height AND weight. And I think that’s a ladybug kite.

Unless Sweet Machine is hydrocephalic, she either does not weigh 170 pounds or is taller than 5′7″


Filed under Beauty

10 responses to “Annotated Illustrated BMI Categories

  1. Obviously, the BMI project doesn’t say anything. Most of the women look like what they are — overweight, underweight, etc. However, I wouldn’t be so surprised that there are some outliers. I’m currently 5’7″ and 120lbs, and I can easily hit 140+ if I start doing (serious) weights. My measurements change exactly…not at all. Muscle doesn’t weigh more than fat, but it is denser than fat. Obviously, my BMI right now is 19 or so (low end of normal) and my BMI when I’m doing weights is about 21 (still normal), so it’s not a big deal and would prove nothing in the experiment — just that people definitely carry weight differently.

  2. LILGRL,

    I would be surprised if there were NOT outliers, but few of the women in the Flickr set could be classed as such.

    Now I feel the need to go slumming for BMI stats and burn through a few boxplots.

  3. Pingback: Linkage is Good for You: Change Edition « In Mala Fide

  4. I can believe Matt’s stats. I had the same stats when I was 17 and I looked about like that (meaning that I looked like a skinny son of a bitch, not the world’s saddest puppy dog with a ladybug kite).

    If this series shows anything, it’s that BMI skews too low for men. The same formula is used for men and women, which can’t be right. But that doesn’t help the fat chicks.

  5. Alkibiades

    BMI is ok as a starting point so long as you aren’t more than a SD or so above or below average height. Once you get up to my height (significantly above 6′) it becomes a bit of a joke.


    I’m the first to rail against obesity in western society, especially on the part of lazy women with no will power, but BMI standards are bullshit. I’m almost overweight on bmi calculators, but my bf is 9.4% and I have my first bodybuilding contest in may…

  7. Pingback: Linkage is Good for You: Change Edition

  8. lifeinlonglegs

    Do your research. BMI is a population measure, not meant for individual application. Any exercise physiologist knows this. Waist to hip ratio is an measure that correlates more specifically to good health that might be more applicable individually.

    Where most women use BMI’s irrelevancy to justify their porkage, most internet addicted men ;) who make free to assess women according to it neglect to check themselves into the ‘underweight’ category while they’re at it. Further to this, most crack whores or chain smokers would hit on-target or underweight with style – hardly desirable.

  9. As Bernard of Clairvaux said, humility is a reverent love for the truth.

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