Monday, April 17, 2006

on the subject of weight

and just because I'm irritated by seeing these on buses and billboards everywhere I go, this is from the Greater Manchester cycling campaign:

What exactly do they mean? Fat people shouldn't cycle? People who use cars or buses are all fat? How do I find out whether I'm thin enough to use one of their cycle lanes, and what will happen to me if I dare to cycle while fat?

I hate seeing them do this, because I like what they do - encouraging cycling and campaigning for better, safer cycle routes. That's important, because while I like cycling, I also like being alive, and for that reason I haven't even brought my bike to Manchester. Compared to the towns I've lived in previously, provision for cyclists is terrible, and it just isn't safe for me to cycle to any of the places I need to go.

And that makes it more disappointing when they do something like this.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


Via Mind the Gap:

Almost a third of women worry about the way their body looks "every waking minute", a survey suggests.
The poll of over 5,000 women for Grazia magazine found just one in 50 was happy with the way her body looks, with women wanting to lose an average of 19lbs.
It concluded that the average British woman worries about her body every 15 minutes.

Except this says nothing about the average British woman, just the average Grazia reader, which I hope is not the same thing. And not even the average reader, but the readers who are concerned enough about body weight/appearance to bother filling in the survey. It's a small, self-selecting population, and even Grazia readers should know that you can't use something like that to make conclusions about the 'average woman'.

It's a bit like that Tesco Diets survey where this conclusion was made:

The majority of women would prefer to be slimmer than have a higher IQ, instant wealth or a date with the celebrity of their dreams.

Nineteen out of 20 of the female population say that they place a higher priority on having a smaller waist than on their intelligence.

with the lovely title "Most women would rather have a small waist than a big brain".

I don't know what the point is of running these articles that push the idea of most women as silly little people who teeter through life on their high heels, clutching a tiny handbag and a copy of Grazia with their fluffy little heads filled with nothing but anxieties about their fat thighs. I'm sure if a similar survey was run in a magazine like 'Ms' or 'Bitch', the results would be different. Or why not ask women who read 'New Scientist' or 'Nature'?

Does it work as advertising for Grazia or Tesco? Is that why they do the surveys in the first place?

On the subject of diets, I just noticed the headline "Why portion sizes matter when you're on a diet" on the MSN homepage. I didn't click. I think I can work it out...