Monday, January 25, 2010

My fat-shaming scale

Last night at dinner the Schmoogie started telling me about how awesome our scale is because it "uses some electrical measurment to determine your body fat [percentage]", so this morning, I decided to take that little feature for a spin.
I set it to adult, female, 5'7", and weighed myself (192.5, if you're curious). Then came the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 while it calculated my body fat.
That would make me morbidly obese. For those of you who have met me, I am not morbidly obese (not even in a bride's maid dress). My doctor isn't concerned at all about my weight (which if I was morbidly obese, he would be), and I have none of the signs or symptoms of diseases brought on by obesity. (For the record, my cholesterol is too low, my blood pressure is perfect, and I can hold Downward Facing Dog for upwards of 5 mintes.)
According to the internet, bones take up about 15% of ones body weight. My giant breasts take up another 5-10%. And the last time I had my body fat measured, it was somewhere around 30% (this was about 4 years ago, and for the record, I haven't changed pant size). But according to my scale, I am 42% fat. Putting me at somewhere around 10% muscle by my just as accurate calculations.
So, later, the Schmoogie is curious, and tests himself. He inputs male, 6'2.5", and weighs himself. The all knowing electrical current tells him he is 16% fat. Furthering our little experiment, I change my gender in the scale, input the same height, weigh myself and it comes back with -- are you ready for this because it's shocking -- 30%. Now I'm thinking, if it was actually measuring the same body with the same measurments, the gender wouldn't matter. So, I want to know more. We switch the Schmoogie's gender in the scale and measure the same body, and even more shocking, the scale tells a woman who is 6'2.5" and weighs 181 lbs, that she is 34% fat. DOUBLE the Schmoogie's original measurment. That's a pretty freaking huge margin.
Then I get thinking: this machine was programmed not to determine weight and body fat percentage, but to make women feel ashamed of their bodies. A woman with the exact same measurments -- the same body! -- as a man who is pretty much at the "ideal" weight/fat measurments is, according to this machine's calculations obese.
But a woman who was 6'2.5", 181 lbs, with good muscle tone, isn't even obese according to the standard (bullshit) BMI scale.
It's obscene. I'm thinking about getting a different scale that isn't a sexist fucker.