Sunday, March 02, 2008

Because We Are A Society That Lives on Soundbites

Male physiques, of course, all conform to the statistical norms of the United States.

That's a comment made in response to this post: Marvel Women Unhealthily Underweight

I suspect sarcasm.

Which seems a little, um, clueless? to me, since, well....

For those of us that like numbers, here's the pretty graph that sums up the post's title:

Note how the spikes for the men's BMI occur at roughly the same place, but the Marvel BMI has a higher spike than the real life BMI. So on the one hand, the Marvel average - or ideal - still corresponds pretty well with the real life average, but on the other, Marvel men are more "average" than real men. They are, in fact, about doubly likely to be "average" than real men.

Now, let's look at the curves for the women's BMI. Not only is the Marvel spike five times higher than the spike for real women, the "averages" aren't anywhere near each other. There is no point at which the Marvel curve and the midpoint of the real life curve even overlap. So we've gone from being almost twice as likely to fitting the real life "average" to no one being like the real life "average."

While real women are more likely to be outliers than real men, Marvel men are more likely to be outliers than Marvel women. Marvel women, in fact, show a range that is only half what Marvel men, a third of real men, and a quarter of real women have. So not only is the average Marvel woman nothing like the average real woman, Marvel women who don't fit that average are pretty much non-existant., about that sarcasm.....


You should all go read the actual paper, of course. It is by Karen Healey and Terry D. Johnson.

1 comment:

suedenim said...

I find it an amusing side note that BMI pegs Steve Rogers, of all people, as "obese."