Thursday, September 3, 2009

Day Eighteen

I just crawled out of bed about twenty minutes ago.  My son just started sleeping in a big bed (a double) so, for the past night or two, I have laid beside him to help him fall asleep (read as "so he doesn't get out of bed and run around like a banshee in his room").  Apparently tonight I was no match for lying in the dark, covered in a blanket, pretending to be I fell asleep for real.  I feel a bit groggy, but it'll have to do until I go to bed in a few more minutes!

I promised y'all some blurb about female body shapes, so here goes:

According to Wikipedia, female body shape is the "cumulative product of a woman's skeletal structure (her build) and the quantity and distribution of muscle and fat on the body."  Across time and across the globe, there have been and still are wide differences of opinion as to what is considered most attractive for a woman's shape.  There is, of course, naturally a wide range of body shapes, and the bust, waist, and hips are considered to be inflection points, where the ratio of these are used to define the basic shape of a woman. 

The hourglass is considered by the Western world to be the "ideal" female shape, where the waist is smaller than the bust and hips.  The bust and hips are almost of equal size in contrast with the smaller waist measurement.  This underlines symmetry in the human form that tends to be seen as attractive by others, and many movie stars falsely claim to have body shapes that are "hourglass", when, in reality, only about 8% of women are shaped that way.

There is also the banana shape, where the waist measures less than nine inches smaller than the hips or bust.  Women with banana shapes tend to have higher androgen levels (in comparison to estrogen), and the body's skeleton develops into this shape.  A study of 6,000 women in 2005 at NC State found that about 46% of women measured were banana, or rectangle-shaped.

There is the apple shape, where women have broader shoulders and bust, and narrower hips.  These body shapes have higher androgen levels compared to women with other body types.  This body shape has a higher risk towards some diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.  It is found among about 14% of women.

There is the pear shape, where the hips measure greater than the bust, with fat depositing more in the buttocks, hips and thighs.  About 20% of women were found to be pear-shaped.

Since the 1950s, the average woman's waistline has increased by six inches and women are taller and have bigger busts and hips than women from that era.

Since early times, women have struggled to fit their various body shapes into the desired proportions of their contemporaries.  Among many different types of restraints, constraints, clothes, and cosmetics, such things come to mind as "lotus feet", planing the forehead, lengthening the neck, breast implants, and corsetting the waist.  Boned corsets were in vogue for centuries, and have since been replaced by more humane "foundation garments" (Spanx anyone?).  As fashions and ideals have changed over time, what has remained mostly constant throughout history has been the preference for a small waist.  A low waist/hip ratio has often been seen as a sign of good health and fertility.

A waist/hip ratio is the waist measurement divided by the hip measurement.  This ratio has been shown to correlate with attractiveness, even across cultures.  Women with a waist circumference that is 70% of the hip measurement have consistently been rated most attractive.  Some unforgettably shaped women, such as Marilyn Monroe, Sophia Loren, the Venus de Milo, all have the ratio of 70%. 

Do I think this stuff remotely determines a woman's worth?  Heck no!  Do I think we need to suffer needlessly and bust back out the corsets or get implants...hell no!  But I thought the topic was interesting, and I have always heard about pear and apple shapes (banana was unknown to me, but interesting nonetheless).  I am not very surprised that the most "desired" body shape would be the one that is least naturally occurring...of course it's the most desirable--hardly anyone has that shape!

I hope my sleepy brain isn't so addled that any of this was muddled or hard to read.  I got up and went to an aerobics class this morning, doing aerobics in front of others (!) for sixty minutes.  Um.  Dude, sixty minutes is a LOOOOONG time to be doing any damn thing.  It also reminded me again why I so love doing exercises in the comfort and privacy of my own home.  I know the instructor can help someone who is struggling with how to hold their body, or their posture, or whatever, but getting barked at by someone who makes me do the pony for minutes on end isn't high up there on my list of stuff I enjoy.  But I shouldn't really kvetch, since I have never personally taught aerobics, so I would hardly know how to do it myself.  Which is why I enjoy aerobics...on DVD.  Alone.  At home.

Food went pretty well all day, except for this evening.  Both last night and tonight I have had a hard time withstanding some temptation.  Last night I got really hungry in the presence of hummus and ended up eating a fair bit of hummus with tortilla chips and then a PB&J sandwich (ugh), and tonight I had a hard time saying no to some fried potatoes and the damn hummus again.  I am not happy about the extra eating, but I am resolving to not A) beat myself up about it and B) not throw the baby out with the bathwater and eat everything in sight.  I have to remember that, as a woman and all that, hormones can play underlying factors in day-to-day stuff with food.  Every once in a while my body just says, "hey, YOU, chubby chick!  Bring on the salt!" or some other random thing.  I figure as long as I'm not eating spackling with a butterknife, I probably don't need to freak out too bad, but I do need to be honest and tell it like it is, which means telling you that I'm not being angelic over here with the people kibble. 

I'm going (back) to bed.  I'll see you all tomorrow! 


  1. I love this! But, where is the pretzel rod? Stick skinny, no boobs, no waist, looks like a 12 year old boy? The garss is always greener. Like almost everyone, I have always wanted another body, and have to talk myself out of plastic surgery weekly. What's wrong with us women? Why can't we have a little pride in ourselves? I need to make a new shirt for myself: FLAT PRIDE! This is great Erin. I'm impressed that your putting yourself out there like this. xoxo

  2. Erin,
    Good luck girl. I'm glad you're documenting the ride. It'll help people, for sure.
    I'll be checking on you!

  3. whoa - Erin, I love your blog, just started reading, and yesterday I was tipped off about Glennon's which I also love - do you two know each other?? Jean Cimino knows glennon and suggested her blog to me, but I do not know how they know each other...