Right. I’m really pissed off. So this is an angry rant. Brace yourselves.
Yesterday, I had a good friend of mine come in looking like someone had shot her dog.
She’s 5ft, has bigger traps than me, and is tougher then most guys. She’s motivated. She loves her Pilates. She can run like a beast. She has excellent push ups. She doesn’t do crossfit, and thank god, because if she ever tastes that blood, she would destroy us all.
She also has less than 25% bodyfat.
But at her doctor’s appointment earlier that day, she was told that she was borderline obese because her Body Mass Index is high.
Her BMI is high, because she has muscle. It’s not high because she’s fat. Dumbass.
Your stupidity in that comment is near criminal.
You shattered the confidence of a girl who’s tough as nails. It’s going to eat at her. She’s shorter than average so she already has a different body shape then everyone around her. She gets bombarded with the message day in and day out that to follow conventional definitions of beauty, you have to be tall and slim. She can’t ever get that, because she’s visibly strong. She’s spend years coming to terms with the fact that, yeah she’s got muscle, yeah that makes her look different, but her boyfriend still thinks she’s gorgeous.
But you’re a doctor. No matter what the people close to her might tell her, she trusts what you say, for better or worse. You tell her she’s fat, she’s going to believe you.
Luckily, she’s got a whole bunch of people, and a lot of self-confidence behind her. So it’ll hit her hard, but she’ll shrug it off, keep training and she’ll be fine.
Except you’ve probably made the same remark to other people as well. People who can’t bounce back as easily. People who can’t understand why they don’t look like the girls on the cover of magazines.
Congratulations: Your stupid comment just created an eating disorder. A body image issue. Someone who self-harms. Someone who runs 2 hours a day, everyday and doesn’t eat to desperately try to lose weight.
So you know what doc? Fuck the BMI.
Get informed: Test body composition. Check blood profiles.
Build your assessment of a body off more than one outdated, misinformed and useless measurement.
In the mean time, I’m going to try to undo the damage your idiocy did with my friend.
And the girl who just walked into the Crossfit where I train.
And all the female athletes I train who don’t look slim because they can out squat me.
– To everyone who trains, all the instructors, all the coaches, doctors and parents:
Encourage your daughters, sisters, and female friends to lift something heavy. To determine their self-worth by something other than their pant size or a needle on a scale. Give them someone to look up to. Try her. Or her. Or her.
Women have it hard. The message they get from popular media is an unattainable, unhealthy standard of beauty. It’s our job to change that.
Get to work.