Men perceive women to be heavier than they actually are, according to a Danish study of more than 1,000 people that also asked participants to play a volatile guessing game: how much do you think your partner weighs?
While women tended to underestimate their partners' poundage, men consistently highballed their wives' and girlfriends' weight, even when the women were actually underweight or at a normal weight.
It took a BMI score of just 22.59 for the men to begin viewing a partner as overweight; strictly speaking, overweight is marked by a BMI score of 25 and over.
“This shows us that it’s not only us women who have unrealistic perceptions of our weight, but that the perceptions tend to transfer between the sexes, leaving both sexes with this perception,” lead author and sociologist Vibeke Tornhøj Christensen told the publication Science Nordic.
”When men start to perceive women as overweight even before they are, it goes against the general idea that men like women with shapely figures.”
The Danish research institution AKF conducted the study, asking respondents to categorize themselves as underweight, normal, slightly overweight, obese or severely obese.
Men tended to lowball their own weight: many believed they were at a normal weight when their BMI scores suggested they were in fact obese.
On the flipside, women tended to inflate their real weight -- as did their merciless hubbies and boyfriends.
”Women are probably a bit tougher on themselves, while men are more inclined to think they look alright,” said the lead author, who pointed at ideals set out for women by the media, not to mention increasingly Photoshopped fashion spreads.
Problematically, this overstating of women's weight is also extending to daughters, Ms. Christensen said.
“We’re seeing the same pattern here ... Parents tend to regard girls as overweight and boys as underweight. It’s as if we’re being harder on our daughters than our sons.”
Do you give your partner a hard time about his or her body?