The Madness of Measurements

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

I have a secret. I don’t really understand what an infographic is.

I get plenty of emails from people telling me they’ve created them, and to be honest it mostly seems to be what used to be created as a poster, or a flyer. A way of sharing information in graphical form. Oh, I guess I do know what an infographic is in that case.

Anyway, regardless, I don’t normally share them, mostly because it seems to have become a buzzword that means “I’ve created this pretty picture that doesn’t really say anything of any interest and I thought I might persuade you to part with valuable space on the blog you’ve worked really hard on in order to promote me for no good reason”

However, yesterday someone sent me an “infographic” (the word makes me a little bit sick, from now on I am sticking with “information graphic”, I don’t mind extra words.) that actually was quite interesting. (You can click on it if you want to zoom in, but I’m going to pick sections out.)

Obviously, this isn’t all properly readble (another reason why I generally don’t like infographics, I only have so much space) so I’ll pick out some interesting bits for you.

Firstly, one of the whole reasons that I write about vanity sizing and body image is this quote

“Because we want so badly to be assured that we are thin and beautiful, we fall into the dark of sizing that is detached from our bodies.”

A distorted body image is a very bad thing. Thinking you are fat and starving yourself when you are patently underweight is bad. Telling yourself it is “normal” to be obese and that you don’t need to do anything about your weight when you can’t get into a regular sized seat at the Cinema is also bad.

This portion of the infographic shows how womens average weight and BMI has crept up over the years, whilst designers have introduced smaller and smaller size labels. The truth is tiny women aren’t buying these tiny sizes, the average woman is getting bigger, but still buying the same size from the designers as she was in the 1950s. Those tiny sizes are being sold to the women who are now the same size as the average 1950s woman.

Women come in all shapes and sizes, it’s important to remember that the number on your clothes means nothing.

I shall try not to rant too much today, I like to save my ranting up, but there’s one last thing on the infographic I want to bring up.

There are other risk factors to take into account, obviously. Having a 34″ waist doesn’t mean you are going to die of heart disease or diabetes. But research has shown that in women a waist measurement of over 34″ puts you at serious helth risks. So stop worrying about what your clothes say and whether you are beautiful exactly as you are, and get out a tape measure.

7 Responses
  • Perdita
    May 30, 2012

    Agree with for about infographics- that one *almost* had me thinking a size 0 WAS a 28.2 BMI until I realised it was just confusing colour coding.

    But seriously, yes. People need to start measuring/weighing themselves with health in mind not size. Health is key. I have weighed too much and too little- and have fainted in between because I wasn’t eating the right stuff. Going by clothes sizes is bizarre… no one can see the label when the clothes are on!

    • Gemma
      May 30, 2012

      Oh I get so very, very ranty about this stuff.

      I speak of someone who quite frequently finds herself overweight, for several reasons, some my own pigginess, some the fact that restaurants think it’s ok to sell dinners with an entire days calorie allowance in them. Rather than spend my time trying to convince myself it’s ok I try and do something about it. I’m not perfect, it’s the attitude that because everyones fat now it must be ok that bugs me.

  • Vintage Virgin
    May 30, 2012

    Here, here … we should all stop obsessing over clothing sizes and just ask ourselves the question “I’m I living healthy lifestyle” and “am I happy” .. mind I am also sick of the new obsession with BMI … due to my height and my build to be in the mid range of “healthy” I’d need to loose another stone of weight .. at which point I’d look both ill and like a stick! .. I like my curves thank you very much .. 🙂

  • Laura
    May 30, 2012

    This is something I was talking to a friend about just last night! We were saying how you can walk into one shop and pick up a size 10 quite happily whereas in another you couldn’t even dream of fitting into a 12. It’s all so silly – especially when shops mark the sizes smaller to make us feel better about our selves.

  • Patrick
    May 31, 2012

    the original one is a bit bigger (and easier to read) -here:

    Anything related people would like to see us produce?

  • Angie
    June 1, 2012

    Couldn’t agree more! In fact, feel so strongly about correcting many many identity issues in women I’ve started a new interactive area on the blog!
    Maybe ‘S’ will have to be on sizing- would love you to be involved in this too?! xXx

  • Faith
    June 7, 2012

    I recently bought a vintage marks and spencers blouse (which is called St Michaels?) from the 60s and was shocked to find it was a size 16 but measured 38inchs round the bust and was only big on the waist by a few inches (I am a UK 10). Its shocking to think how a big a modern 16 is next to a vintage 16, and even more shocking to see how big as a nation we’re getting.