Androcentric error example

One kind of androcentric error is one that results from taking male as the norm. Here’s a nice one:

Many M.D.s have bought this fallacious line that the optimal weight for women in terms of their health is what M.D.s call normal weight, a BMI between 18.5 and 25. And they have thought this to be true because women with higher BMIs exhibit a series of physiological measures that are indeed risk factors for disease in men. But they are not systematically risk factors for disease in women. If you actually look at the data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and data from studies done in other countries, the optimal weight for women who have had a kid is what doctors currently call “overweight.”

5 thoughts on “Androcentric error example

  1. The evolutionary angle presented by the book’s authors is kind of interesting. So what this seems to call for is a revision of the optimal BMI range for women in order to bump it upward somewhat. Does anyone know what the book argues the revised range should be? Unfortunately, even if this meant that a lot of people previously thought medically overweight were no longer thought so, it wouldn’t really change the underlying public health problem. Sort of like when the government adjusts the definition of “poverty” and, voila, suddenly there are millions fewer or millions more poor people, without anyone actually being better or worse off than previously. Even if medical science bumped “healthy” female BMI up by 3 points, that would still mean roughly half of US women had an unhealthy BMI (that’s not counting those with an unhealthily *low* BMI).

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