It probably comes as no surprise to you that men underestimate their weight and women overestimate theirs. But it’s both amusing and saddening to hear that men also tend to overestimate the weight of their partners.
In a study carried out by the Danish Institute of Governmental Research, it turned out that few of us are able to accurately categorise our weight. Perhaps unsurprisingly, men generally underrated their own weight; many of the men whose Body Mass Index (BMI) suggested they were obese regarded their weight as normal, according to Science Nordic. Conversely, women tend to overestimate their own BMI.
But, sadly, men also overestimate the weight of women. “This shows us that it’s not only us women who have unrealistic perceptions of our weight, but that the perceptions tend to transfer between the sexes, leaving both sexes with this perception,” explains sociologist Vibeke Tornhøj Christensen, who conducted the study. “When men start to perceive women as overweight even before they are, it goes against the general idea that men like women with shapely figures.”
Perhaps, most worryingly, this trend’s also true for adults assessing the weight of children. “We’re seeing the same pattern here,” explains Christensen. “Parents tend to regard girls as overweight and boys as underweight. It’s as if we’re being harder on our daughters than our sons.”
Evolutionarily speaking, it’s long been assumed that women value a large stature in men, whilst curvaceous females are more attractive to males. These results, showing that men perceive women as being fat even when they aren’t, suggest that might be changing, no doubt affected on some level by the notion of beauty peddled by the media. While it makes for an amusing headline, it does hint at a more serious social issue — one that is proving difficult to address. [Science Nordic]
Image: Helga Weber/Flickr