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Visual Standards of Beauty Vs Physical Standards of Health

If she was alive today, Marilyn Monroe would fail the Thigh Gap Test.

Why? Because her thighs would be touching. The standard for passing the Thigh Gap Test is whether you can stand with your feet together, your knees touching and there is a gap between your thighs, where the thighs don't touch at all. That is it.

It is a ridiculous standard of beauty perpetuated in western culture where being super skinny is considered by some to be attractive - a standard which then dictates that countries with the highest starvation rates therefore must have the most attractive people. Except since beauty contestants from Sub-Saharan Africa are not usually winning any international beauty contests, I do think that standard of beauty is really just a MYTH because it has no basis in reality.

Name a historical beauty, a really famous one, like Sophia Loren for example and I will bet they would fail the Thigh Gap Test. Twiggy, the fashion model from the 1960s/70s would pass it, but she was no great beauty.

Notice also that men are not being held to this ridiculous standard of beauty either. Any man who can pass the Thigh Gap Test probably has ridiculously skinny legs.

There are other standards of beauty out there too. Some are just really silly.

For example:

The Finger Test - Touch your index finger in a line from your nose to your chin. Do your lips touch your index finger? If so, you're probably beautiful according to the test. The test is also known as "The Finger Trap" or "The Rickett’s E-line Test".

This particular test is popular in China and other Asian countries. The test has no scientific basis and supposed has to do facial proportions, but if you read actual science into what humans perceive to be beautiful, symmetry is considered to be more important. The Finger Test doesn't even consider Symmetry.

The Anaface Test - Anaface stands for Analyze Face, it is a website where you upload a photo of yourself and then they supposedly check how symmetrical and proportional your face is. However the website has since been debunked for being inaccurate and based on facial proportions that apparently expect the perfect 10 score to look more like an alien.

The Beach Perfect Body Test - This is pretty simple test. Go to the crowded beach wearing a swimsuit and walk around and check how many people you catch staring at you. If you catch more than 5 people staring then you are beautiful. Unlike the Thigh Gap Test, this is one test men can actually pass.

The Golden Ratio - The Golden Ratio is a mathematical ratio considered to be visually pleasing to humans. It is a ratio of 1.6180339~. It is known as phi (Φ) in Geometry, and was used historically in Greek/Egyptian architecture, in India, in Feng Shui, in Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man, etc. In terms of beauty it means that various proportions of the human body should follow a ratio of roughly 1 to 1.6180339~, so if width of your ear is a distance of 1, the height of your ear should be a distance of 1.6180339~. Although honestly, this is really just an excuse for mathematicians to force their ideas unto others.

On the plus side, the Golden Ratio is one test that Marilyn Monroe passes.

But you know what, over 90% of people pass the Golden Ratio Test. So the good news is that according to the Golden Ratio Test we're all pretty much beautiful because it is very easy to get the math to conveniently fit.

So those are some commonly used (and often inaccurate) standards of beauty.

But what are some physical standards of health?

Well there is BMI (Body Mass Index), which compares your height to your weight and then estimates whether you are anorexic, underweight, average, overweight, obese or morbidly obese.

The BMI system works for most people, but ignores the possibility that someone might have a lot of muscle mass. Bodybuilders for example cannot be accurately measured by BMI.

Next there is Body Fat Percentage (BFP), which is more accurate than BMI because it calculates your total weight, the fat content of your body, and how much fat is in your body by percentage. The trick to BFP is that it is tricky to calculate accurately. People can try doing it using measurements, or by using machines, but both just provide an estimate that could be off by as much as 5%.

For women between ages 20 and 40, 19% to 26% body fat is good (26%)  to excellent (19%). For women age 41+, 23% to 30% is considered good (30%) to excellent (23%).

For men between ages 20 and 40, 10% to 20% body fat is generally good (20%) to excellent (10%). For men age 41+, 19% to 23% is considered good (23%) to excellent (19%).
Having more body fat than the amounts listed above is considered unhealthy because the person is overweight, whereas having lesser amounts is likewise considered unhealthy because the person might be at risk for anorexia*.

* However we should note that some athletes fall into the very low body fat percentage and thus having a low BFP does not necessarily mean the person is unhealthy.

Lastly Heart Rate is a great measurement for determining whether a person is unhealthy as it is tied to a strong and healthy heart and a diet that is free from cholesterol. A person's normal heart rate is between 60 and 80 beats per minute when at rest. In contrast a professional athlete will have a heart rate between 40 to 60 beats per minute when at rest. Someone who has over 90 beats per minute while at rest is considered unhealthy because they have high blood pressure, which is often a sign that they have a weaker heart or a cholesterol problem.

Doctors also routinely check Blood Pressure too, which is measured as a comparison between a resting heart rate (diastolic) and a post-intense-exercise heart rate (systolic). Blood Pressure is then measured as the larger systolic number over the smaller diastolic number.

So for example 105 over 70 is considered normal.

80 over 50 is the blood pressure of a professional athlete.

190 over 100, omigod, how have you not died from an heart attack? Please see a doctor right away!


What I hope people will take away from reading all of this is that hopefully you will focus on the healthy standards over the false standards of beauty. Yes, a person can have a thigh gap, but they might also be anorexic, have dangerously low body fat and have high blood pressure (anorexic people often die from heart attacks due to weak hearts).

Be healthy and happy and your beautiful smile will be all that matters.

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