When did a size 12 become "full-figured" and a 14 become "obese"?
What the hell is up with the BMI?
And where are the athletic-cut shirts for women?
I got into a little discussion the other day with some people at work. I'm closer to 200 lbs. these days than to 100, but I wear a (loosening) size 12. According to the BMI charts, I'm obese. According to magazines like "People" and "Vogue" (not like I'm saying they're bastions of intellectualism and feminist cred, but they are popular), I am "full figured". According to some of my coworkers, I am getting "too big" from weightlifting.
The only one of those three I can shut up immediately and effectively is the last, usually by simply picking the second-biggest person in the group and lifting them clean off the floor without visible effort. (The first-biggest person in the group is usually some general-surgery resident who was a nose tackle in high school. I don't need a hernia.)
But I'm still getting charged more by my insurance company because I fall into the obese category on the BMI charts. Never mind that my blood pressure is fine, that my cholesterol is normalizing, that I can and do run an eight-minute mile. Yeah, I could stand to lose 20 pounds, but that would still put me in the overweight-to-obese range for the government and in the holy-kamole-to-oh-shit range for insurance charts. To weigh what my doctor, my insurance purveyor, and the Gubmint would like me to, I would have to lose about sixty pounds. Which would mean that I would quit menstruating and probably breathing.
To give you an idea of the genetics behind my biceps, consider this: Beloved Sister "should" weigh somewhere around 125 pounds at her height.
She carries that much in lean mass *alone* on her frame. We're blessed.
Anyway, I'm getting bugged. My pants are getting looser at the same time my shirts get tighter, which means I can buy jeans (for now) at "normal person" stores, but have to spend the extra dough on "woman's" clothing in order to get something on top that will go around my chest. Or I have to buy men's large shirts and taper the waist down. If I want a dress, I have to order women's sizes in order to fit my chest and back, then alter them to be small enough for my waist and (sometimes) hips. Or I have to buy a "normal person" 16 or 18 and then alter the whole damned thing, because I'm short.
I want some women's shirts that are cut to allow for shoulders, boobs, and a back. I don't even care if they fit around my biceps; I just want to be able to go out in a T-shirt or button-down without looking like Sheena, Queen Professional Wrestling Slut From Hell.
I'd also like for the societal expectations for women's bodies to change enough that total strangers don't find it necessary to comment on my shape. It's nice when it's a compliment, but more and more often (especially if I wear a normal-person T-shirt) it's getting into "Good Heavens, what on earth do you *do* to get that big a back?" territory.
I'd also like for the coworkers who bug me about my muscles but love me to help them move heavy patients to shut up for a while.
Please note that I do not intend to quit lifting. There's something viscerally satisfying about putting on a shirt and having it strain across my back, even if I then get irritated about the fit. I love the fact that I now walk with that bouncy, tight weightlifter's walk, rather than with the tired-nurse tread that I see so often at work. I also love that I can do sixty reps on bicep curls with fifteen pounds and be just a little tired.
Plus, it's nice to be able to pick up people who bug me. I may, if I continue to make huge gains in strength and bulk, someday be able to shake them like a terrier would and then toss them over my (massive, rippling) shoulder.