The skinny culture vindicated by science? I hope not…
A graduate research project carried out at the University of Tennessee claims to have found that marriages work better where the wife has a lower body mass index (BMI) than her husband. In fact, both men and women ideally prefer a partner with lower BMI than themselves, apparently, but women adapt over time.
The researcher has pointed out that this finding does not particularly suggest that women need to be skinny; it is all a matter of relative BMI. In other words, they just need to be somewhat thinner than their rotund husbands. However, that qualification would probably be lost on the audience, and the risk must be that research of this kind reaffirms the skinny-body-and-diet culture that has created so much psychological and physical harm in western society.
Healthy lifestyles, exercise, nutritious food and the like are all quite proper objectives in today’s culture. But it is not OK to suggest to women that their happiness in life and that of their partner is in any way connected with being thinner than him. We need to lose that kind of message.