Kate Harding has put together a slideshow illustrating how ridiculous BMI standards are. The show includes everyone from the underweight to the morbidly obese, and a lot of you might be surprised at what you find. Even as someone who has a history of railing against the BMI, it was not exactly what I expected to see. I fall into the “overweight but almost obese” category at a (just very slightly below so that all my pants are a little too lose) size 12. I know that I do not look “almost obese.” But being told time and time again that you must, well, it starts to get to you and makes you wonder how thin exactly they want people to be.
So yes, it is reassuring to see other women who fall into the “overweight” category and look a lot like me. And they look great. In fact, one of my favorite things about the show is how diverse the pictures are. We’re not talking clinical assessment, here. We’re talking real images of real women enjoying their lives and generally looking pretty damn comfortable in their own bodies. How often do we see that? Not nearly enough.
There is also an extended set of pictures available at flickr. The bonus with those is that you get to see the height, weight and BMI percentage for each person. That will open your eyes even more, so check it out.
On a similar theme of loving your body, check out this (NSFW) blog that I found via Radical Doula called The Shape of a Mother. Women post photographs of their post-pregnancy bodies, which strangely enough do not resemble those you see in the tabloids where the stars have all lost their “baby weight.” It’s a little bit of truth for the childless, affirmation for the moms and a much-needed dose of women expressing a bit of self-love.