What about ‘hourglass’ or ‘athletic’?

Writing about:  “Memory loss more likely for pear shaped women” in the Metro 15/7/10

The title tells you most of what you need to know.

150 years ago it was common practice to blame a woman’s mental state on her gynaecology.  Perhaps I should be glad that this study isn’t blaming memory loss on ‘uterine disturbance’, but it still seems that attempts to connect women’s (and, it seems, only women’s) bodies and their minds is still alive and well.  It’s no longer her uterus that’s the problem:  this study tells us that a women’s mental state is now seen to be a manifestation of her bodily type (in particular her size) and vice versa.   Put down the cake, love – not only will it make you fat and unlovable, it’ll also give you Alzheimer’s.

I imagine that the authors of the original report gave a reason for only studying women.  It would have been nice for the journalist to have passed that information on…so we could rip it to pieces.

As you can probably tell, I’m riled with indignant feminist rage.  But there are even more reasons to feel uncomfortable with this study (or, at least, the reporting of it).  Consider the last paragraph:

‘The pear-shape is incredibly common, and while this study doesn’t explain fully the link between body shape and brain function, it surely makes the case for watching the scales,’ said Rebecca Wood, chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Research Trust.

This kind of comment is what keeps me going back to the more radical critiques of the Alzheimer’s movement.  That the link between body shape and brain function isn’t “fully” explained by this study, means that it has not been at all explained by this study.  Without a working theoretical model of how fat on different parts of the body can affect the brain and its ability to form and retain models, all they have is a line on a graph:  correlation implying causation.  All glued together with a load of sexist ideology, body policing, and pretty bad reporting.  No wonder I’m angry.

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