Sunday, February 8, 2009

Stacked Decks

One of my dearest friends appeared in the pages of Playboy (not a centerfold) and related to me how much work it was to look like that. Hours of day spent working out, and otherwise engaged in self-maintenance, so that she could do the shoot and grace a couple of pages. (I said, "Hey, what about airbrushing?" and she assured me that whatever went on, it didn't reduce the need to be absolutely devoted to appearance.)

So, I thought this Wired article was interesting, showing the growing disparity between Playboy centerfolds and average women. Now, it's not a huge surprise. Breast implants mean you can be thin as a rail--which looks good in fashionable clothing--and still large-busted--which looks good everywhere else, except Parent-Teacher Night.

The article points out that the numbers are probably not true, and that they reflect more what the editorial staff thinks looks good, and I would tend to agree. First of all, there's not that huge a difference between 50 years ago and today from what I can tell. The other thing is that the current Playmates (my friend graced the pages 20 years ago) I'd guess do a lot more lean muscle building so, if anything, their BMIs should be going up. (And since it's by weight, implants would also increase BMI.)

What does trouble me, though, is the divergence in the two scales. A two point BMI difference is no big deal, which is where the scale starts. An eight point divergence, on the other hand, says something is screwy.


  1. Oh, Playboy, why do you want your "readers" to lust after androids?

    Skinny or skinny with fake boobs is not hot. And another thing-what's up with the need to be clean shaven? Bush needs a comeback.

  2. Bush needs a comeback.

    How much bush are we talking about?

    If it's (NSFW) Madonna at the age of 20 levels of bush, I think I might have to pass.

    But, yeah, big fake boobs on rail thin bodies are not good. The current Playboy aesthetic is pretty alarming, and not particularly attractive, and really hasn't performed well in the marketplace, either.

  3. See? How can I not love you guys?


  4. @XWL:

    If Madonna had the ciccones, she could set things back to the way they should be--maybe not all the way--but away from the muscular android look.

  5. If Madonna had the ciccones


  6. That is why we love normal curvy women.

    When I was a single guy that's what I was looking for.


    And Pervy.

    Cury and Prevy that's the ticket.

  7. If the article is right that the average BMI is now 27, the screwy thing is that we're all letting ourselves go. I just looked up what someone my height would weigh for a 27 BMI. Such a someone would not normally be appearing on Trooper's blog.

  8. No? Here's a matrix for reference.

    Look at the 4'11 @ 120 (26.3) and 5'0 @ 150 (29.3). I wouldn't call those fat.

    The woman at the bottom of the 5'6 @ 150 is marvelous, though with a 24.2 BMI she'd be considered on the fringe of "overweight". Same with the last pic (5'8 @ 160). The 5'9 @ 190 woman--I would not call her fat, even though her BMI is well into overweight.

    I don't know if BMI is a very good indicator of much, though.

  9. The woman at the bottom of the 5'6 @ 150 is marvelous

    I'm 5'6. I never have understood the BMI thing, but I do not look marvelous at 150. I suppose if I gained all that weight only in my boobs and ass, I could get away with it. But few women are lucky enough to gain weight like the girl in that photo.

  10. I should say to gain weight and come out looking like the girl in that photo.

  11. Knox--

    Totally. I think there are distinct patterns of gaining weight. I've found I can gain a lot of weight without it showing--and when I'm lean, people think I'm starving. One of my pals is about the same weight as I and only about an inch shorter and people see him as chubby. (He's got a lot more muscle, too.)

    Some women gain weight just in hips and chest (as you noted), like Mary Tyler Moore and Rebecca De Mornay--but some men do, too, which is unfortunate looking.

    The thing is, if you look at the numbers, you realize they don't mean much. This is the problem with BMI. Women bodybuilders, for example, can easily have near "overweight" BMIs in-season but they look better and more natural when they put some fat over that.

  12. I agree that BMI is not a useful stat for bodybuilders. But let's face it: most people don't wait train at all.

    I think the matrix proved my point. The people around my height and 27 BMI look... well, they look pretty fat.

    Now, check 5'2", 94 lbs or 5'1" 104 lbs or 5'5" 115 lbs. Those women look a lot more like what you see on Troop's blog.

  13. Those women are way skinny for Troop. Except for Joan Collins in the tub, which I don't think is Troop's ideal. The Lee Lee's models don't fit into that at all. The triple-K model--well, I don't know what you do when a person is 40% silicon by weight.

    Boy, Troop's not putting much cheesecake on his site lately unless it's actual cheesecake.

    But that's not a skinny Kirstie Alley pic. Liz Montogomery was thin but Sophia Loren and Jayne Mansfield? Pre-implants, you didn't get breasts that size without some body fat. Jennifer Tilly?

    Maybe none of them (except Alley) had "overwight" BMIs, but I bet they were all on the high side of normal.

    Meanwhile, I would not say that this woman at 5'2" and 163# looks fat. She's dressed badly and she could lose weight, but I really think a lot has to do with body composition and how your body stores weight, particularly if it's (say) in your face.

    Someone with a strong jaw-line, for example, can put on weight without it being obvious.

    As for weight-training, well, really, we all do it, but some more than others and some merely by virtue of hauling their asses around.

    I'm not being cute here: If I want muscle I have to lift weights. Other people have lifestyles that lead to muscles without them explicitly working at it. So my friend who's slightly shorter but who looks chubbier is also far more muscular, even if that's not obvious. (We were watching a show on fat people and it had a sumo wrestler feature: Those guys are buff, but they eat in a particular pattern that covers their muscles with fat. It's fascinating.)

    On the other hand, I think we're dealing with some questionable data. Troop refers fondly to Kay Parker who was according to Google 5'6" and 116, which is positively lithe.

    I think you and I can probably leave this at: There is a fairly wide variance of BMIs women can look good at, though in typical genetic cruelty, it's far wider for some women than others. Some women need to be thin (aesthetically speaking), others do better with a little more weight, and a lot of weight is going to be a problem for most, in terms of attracting males who don't go for that sort of thing.

    Also true for men, but in another cruelty, it hardly matters as much.

  14. I agree that some people look better at a wider variance in body weight than others, but I think you're wrong about actresses Sophia Loren and Jayne Mansfield. They are not on the high side of normal BMI. Almost all actresses are going to be under the normal range. Loren and Mansfield appear to be around 19 to 22 BMI. BMI height/weight chart. You don't have to be on the high side of normal BMI to have chest measurements like that.

    As for the Lee Lee's models and Alley, those aren't his cheesecake photos, and they don't tend to be the ones commenters are drooling over. The triple-K is a thin girl with gigantic implants, so she's not really relevant. But if you look at all the starlet pics Troop was posting prior to the "Fat" discussion on Althouse, you'll see that they overwhelmingly consist of thin women.


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