At first glance, The Daily Mail‘s post about the average woman’s weight seems vaguely body positive: They announce that the average British lady may weigh 11 stone (that’s 154 pounds, this side of the pond), but she it comes in many shapes. But to demonstrate the point, they line up a group of women who weight 11 stone in their underwear (hey, better than their naked couple photo shoot), and ask them to explain how they feel about their bodies…which, except for the woman who’s over six feet tall, seems to be mostly “not great.”
Only one of these women—the one who’s over six feet tall, making her height-weight ratio far lower than her peers’—says outright that she’s happy with her weight. The rest all confess to wishing they weighed less or feeling insecure about their looks. Just the first sentence from each of their comments gives you an idea:
Angela Garvin, 42, is 5ft 2in and a size 14
She runs an online vintage clothing company from her home in Romford, Essex. She says:
I’m a typical pear shape and would love to shave five inches off my thighs. But I enjoy food too much to put in the effort it would take to get below 11st.
Gilly Bishop, 40, is 5ft 4in and wears a size 18 on top and 14 on the bottom
The mother-of-two is a singer and lives in Brighton. She says:
When I’m singing and dancing about on stage, all eyes are on me. Being far from skinny at 11st, I can feel self-conscious. So I’d love to get down to 10st but I can’t see it happening.
Anne Clewlow, 33, is 5ft 8in and wears size 12
The events manager lives in Stoke-on-Trent with her husband, Scott Redfern, 37, and son Ryan, nine. She says:
Other women sound shocked when I tell them I weigh 11st, which makes me feel pretty self-conscious about my size.
Lauren Hennessy, 25, is 5ft 11in, a size 10 on top and 12 on the bottom
She is a Slimming World consultant and lives in Hertfordshire with her husband, Sam, 26, a postal worker, and sons Stanley, five, and Ronnie, two. She says:
I was massively overweight until four years ago and still find it hard to believe people when they say that my 11st frame looks slim.
Serone Bailey, 24, is 6ft 1in and a size 10
She is single and a childcare student from North London. She says:
There’s nothing I’d change about my body — 11st is my perfect weight. I used to be 2st lighter, I was a size 6 to 8, and looked positively gaunt — I had to wear two pairs of leggings under jeans to pad them out and give me some shape.
Far from being a body positive expose on what “real women” look like, their article borders on fat-shaming: The average woman’s weight has creeped up from 10.5 stone to 11, they say, and the result is that unless you’re extremely tall, you feel fat and gross. It’s not bad to remind people that, as the average weight goes up, so do several health concerns; it’s also not bad to give women the message that even if they are at a precariously high average weight, it’s okay to feel good about their bodies. But The Daily Mail is neither here nor there.