BODY AND IMAGE; One Size Definitely Does Not Fit All


”DID you know that it’s Beautiful Women Month?” a much-forwarded e-mail message asks, before making a few pertinent statements. Here’s a sampling: ”Marilyn Monroe wore a size 14”; ”If Barbie was a real woman, she’d have to walk on all fours”; and ”The average woman weighs 144 lb. and wears between a 12-14.”

There are more ”facts on figures,” not all of them perfectly accurate. Ms. Monroe, who was 5 feet 5 1/2 inches and weighed between 118 to 135 pounds, may have been busty enough to fill out a size 14, but partly because sizes were smaller in the 1950’s. And Barbie is indeed disproportionate — a 1995 study found that for a woman with an average body type to attain Barbie’s shape, she would need to grow 24 inches (making her more than 7 feet tall), take 6 inches off her waist and add 5 to her chest. But if she came to life, she could presumably still walk upright, the director of the study said.

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