I was searching the web for details on how best to take all the various body measurements that is a standard part of any personal training program, when my search brought me to this essay.

Girls are indoctrinated at a very young age that Barbie is how a woman is supposed to look (i.e. no fat anywhere on your body, but huge breasts). NOTE: If Barbie were life-size, she would stand 5’9” and weigh 110 lb. (only 76% of what is considered a healthy weight for her height). Her measurements would be 39-18-33, and she would not menstruate due to inadequate levels of fat on her body. Similarly, boys are given the impression that men naturally have muscles bulging all over their bodies. Take a look at their plastic action-figures (like GI Joe Extreme) in toy stores. If GI Joe Extreme were life-size, he would have a 55-inch chest and a 27-inch bicep. In other words, his bicep would be almost as big as his waist and bigger than most competitive body builders’. These body ideals are reinforced every day on TV shows, movies, magazine covers, and even video games.

I get to play with action figures more than I used to, having a 4-year old son, and my wife and I are often amused at the contrasting body shapes of the male and female power rangers (the guys have ab muscles that seem to actually stick out through their uniforms, while the women don’t appear to have any muscle on them at all…). Of course, now that I have a daughter I suspect I’ll find the whole body image issue to be less amusing and more worrisome, I’m sure the Barbies will arrive at some point 🙂

Oh, and since people who find this post might be looking for the same thing I started out looking for, I found some directions on where/how to measure yourself here.