Friday, February 10, 2012

Freakish! Shocking! And, oddly enough, A Crock of Crap!

Along my Facebook travels the other day, I happened across a photo and article posted by a woman who has quite a knack for posting things that will start discussions.  This post was no exception.  It was about a Romanian model named Ioana Spangenberg, her “freakish” figure and “shockingly” small waist.  According to the article, Spangenberg’s freakishly shocking measurements are a 20” waist and 32” hips.  And this is the photo circulating with the article:

The comments on FB ranged, predictably, from “eww OMG gross!” to “everyone is beautiful in their own way and you’re going to Hell if you think otherwise”.  I couldn’t even get to that part of the discussion.  Because I couldn’t get past my disbelief that people were A) accepting those numbers without question, and B) accepting them as shocking and freakish, also without question.

My contribution to the discussion consisted of pointing out that, in order for the photo in question to be showing a woman with a 20” waist above 32” hips, those numbers would translate to a flat 10” over 16”, and her hips in the photo would only be wider by 3” than her waist on either side.

My contribution to the discussion was resoundingly ignored as people carried on with their OMG-gross-ing and you’re-going-to-Hell-ing.  So, for those of you who think common sense and math are tools The Man is using to keep The People down, I will revert to what The People seem more receptive to believing: pictures.

The dashes are the same size font.  If the numbers in the article were accurate, the 10 dashes at her waistline would line up with her actual waistline, wouldn’t they?

I posted this line of reasoning on my own FB page, along with the photo below as a basis for comparison, taken of me when I first started modeling back in the late 80’s and I too had freakish and shocking measurements of a 20” waist and 32” hips.  Except where I come from, that’s not called “freakish and shocking”.  It’s called “your dad’s people were a bunch of short large-assed tiny-waisted Italian women”.

The comments that photo received were all extremely flattering, along the lines of my shape looking more natural and being more attractive, and before I continue, I would just like to say thank you.  Seriously.  How much you all love my ass means the world to me.  So thank you very very much and, in case you didn’t know, there is a black & white graphic of that photo available as a poster in my shop.  Just sayin’.

However, flattering as those comments were, the comparison I was trying to make wasn’t between what’s attractive and what isn’t, or even between my late 80’s body and Spangenberg’s body.  The point I wanted to make was two-fold.  First, a 20” waist is hardly freakish, nor are 32” hips.  Second, there is just no way the article’s numbers matched the article’s photo, and it didn’t take a rocket surgeon to figure it out.  Simple arithmetic and a dash of common sense are all that’s required to spot that, if you’re willing to look.

The photo of Spangenberg being circulated is one where her waist is cinched.  There’s nothing wrong with that, if she wants to do it.  There’s also nothing wrong with a newspaper reporting that Spangenberg is able to cinch her waist down to a “shocking” mere 14” or 15”, which is my guess as to about what’s shown in that photo.  That is definitely unusual, because when I had that waistline, I could only cinch it down to about 18”, there was just nothing more to pull in.  So that’s impressive, and worth some ink on an otherwise slow news day.

But to quote the great Judith Sheindlin, don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining.  Don’t tell me smaller than average measurements are freakish and shocking, and don’t tell me I’m looking at something that I can easily figure out is not what I’m looking at.  And next time you see something like this, please take a minute to question what you’re looking at, and compare it to what you’re being told you’re looking at.  Maybe if we all start calling bullshit often and loudly enough, people will stop trying to feed it to us.


  1. “your dad’s people were a bunch of short large-assed tiny-waisted Italian women”.

    And I couldn't be any more appreciative of that fact...

    1. It definitely makes long car & plane rides more comfortable...

  2. Replies
    1. And that is why I do what I do. To keep people loving math.