BBW Body Type To HWP Body Type

BBW body type? Average body type? HWP? What do they all mean?

Have you ever tried to define your body type for an online dating site? What is a BBW body type? What is “About Average”?  I generally like dating sites, in fact back in the day I had even thought about starting a dating site myself; one based on face reading. However, my biggest quarrel with dating sites is their use of body type to categorize women.  Not only is it demeaning to put a type, it is entirely to vague to pick one out.

I know that the dating sites used to use weight instead of body type (and some sites like Badoo.com still do) to help with selection and that was way too personal and specific, especially for women. But body type definitions are so vague as to be useless.  Women are accused of “lying” about their body type (as well as lying about their age; for men it is height and income) up to 80% of the time, but how can you lie about something if you don’t even know the answer to the question? The dating sites don’t even help you with guidelines as to what the different categories mean so you can be consistent.

If you give up trying to answer and put “Prefer Not To Say”, like some sites allow, then you may not end up in any searches at all.  Most men put “Slender, Athletic and Toned, About Average” as their preference, at least on Match.com where you can see their choices. Some look for a few more types, some all types and some only one or two types!

Why is body type so important? Men tend to have very specific body types in mind and they get attracted to the physical aspect of a woman first rather than the mental aspect of a mate like women do.

Here is my rather cynical opinion of what guys think the types of body mean:

A. Slender Body Type

This to me could mean two things:

1. narrow or lanky i.e. small muscles and bones, long limbs, short narrow waist, narrow long face. Hot climate adapted.  Generally what the media in the US currently wants us to associate with feminine. Usually a low BMI even with a higher (35% and up for middle aged) or average (23% – 35%) fat percent. Size 6 or less.

2. low fat: low body fat percent; generally associated with masculinity and youth.  This could mean 10 -15% body fat and a high or low BMI.  Generally associated with low fertility in women. Also currently in fashion. Any size.

My guess is most men think it means #1.


B. Athletic and Toned Body Type

Maybe this choice is meant for men only, but I see a lot of men selecting it as the type that they prefer in women. Does it mean you work out? Does it mean masculine or high testosterone; square chin, low eyebrows, low voice, V shape, low fat percent, and narrow hips? Like the woman trainer from Biggest Loser, Jillian?

My best guess is that most men think it means that the woman exercises and is lanky; size 6 or less.  I think you could exercise and be medium build or stocky and they would say you were lying about your body type if you chose this one so best to not use it IMO unless you are narrow.

C. About Average Body Type

I think this one bothers me the most.  It could mean:

1. average pants size which is size 14

2. average body fat which is 23 to 35% for the middle aged woman

3. average BMI which is 26.5 but slightly higher for middle aged women

4. what I think most men think it means which is size 8 to 12, or not plus size, which is not average at all!  The only average it is is the average size you see in a store (ok average size in the store is size 6 to 10 but close enough).

D. A Few Extra Pounds Body Type

This again could mean a few things. First what does ” a few” mean. Could mean 2 to 20 pounds higher than the average BMI for middle aged women I would think.  Or 2 to 10% body fat more than the average 23% to 35% for the middle aged woman.  What I think it means for men is size 14, which is actually about average.

E. Stocky Body Type

I think this category is for men, but technically LOTS of women of all heights are stocky body type. Stocky body type means cold climate adapted; long wide torso, shorter limbs, square face, and usually a high BMI even with a low body fat.

This body style was all the rage in the US in the 1880s to 1970s but is now considered ugly by the media.  Stocky could mean high fat percent or low; working out or not. I think it is best to leave this one for the men since it is considered a good thing for men to be stocky currently.

lanky vs stocky bbw body type

lanky vs stocky body type online


F. Curvy Body Type

Again, anyone’s guess what this means. My guess is that to men it means round butt and size C breasts or bigger; just a guess. A lot of women like to be called curvy so if you are one of those go for it.

I find when I put this category as my body type rather than A Few Extra or BBW, I get more views and still feel like men probably won’t say I am lying.

Could also mean plus size to some men and some men want to only date women who are less than plus size. The good news is that 10% of all men will admit to preferring plus size women and estimates are that another 55% of men prefer plus size women but won’t admit it since 65% of women are plus sized and someone is dating or married to all those women.

G. Big and Beautiful: BBW Body Type

BBW body type actually has a fairly concise definition, which is a plus size woman size 14 or bigger; “fat” is the politically correct term. It does not necessarily mean high fat percent, greater than 35% for a middle aged woman, but I am guessing that most men think it does.

There is also evidence that women with a fat percent higher than 35% have fertility problems which would make biological sense why men prefer women from 25% to 35% since this is believed to be the fertile range.

Fat percent also increases with age as fertility decreases, so a man may subconsciously connect fat percent with fertility even while choosing women in a close age range in mid life.

BBW does not mean size 14 and up to every man though so it is still vague. I have been told that I am not a BBW and I am way above a size 14 and always have been since puberty.  I would guess some men may think it means that you can barely walk you are so large.

SSBBW Body Type

This term is used on Craigslist and means “super sized big and beautiful woman”. The best definitions I have found on the web is size 26 and up.  That is pretty concise, however I would guess it also means different things to different men. To fat admirers, it probably means a specific amount of fat in certain places that they find attractive.

HWP Body Type

This phrase is used commonly on Craigslist and also drives me nuts. It means “height and weight proportionate”. My guess is what it really means is “you look the way I want you to” to the men who write it, so it is the vaguest of all.  I think it also means “not a BBW”. I just stay away from anyone putting this since to me it shows a lack of communication abilities.  At the very least they could put “thin”, “short”, or “average size” or whatever it is they like.  Here is a simple description that one men was able to make that did a much better job “She should be around my height [about 5’7″] or shorter and weigh less than I do [180-lbs].” Not too hard…

Fit Body Type

Yet another vague label that drives me nuts. The user thinks they are being specific when they use this term. Look at this series of photos of Olympic athletes in ALL sizes and shapes if you think that is true.  If Olympic athletes are not “fit” then who is?  The women come in size from an 85 pound gymnast to a 297 pound weight lifter. OK, that really narrows it down!!

Which body type to pick for yourself?

So a stocky woman with average body fat and large breasts who exercises could fit into all categories except A; slender.  They would be stocky, 25 – 5% body fat (average), work out all the time (athletic and toned), have a high BMI (few extra pounds), be plus sized (BBW), and have curves.  Maybe the dating sites could put check boxes next to the types and you could chose all that apply like with hobbies :).

Would pants sizes be better than body type?

Would it be more accurate to chose pants size instead of body type? Men don’t generally know anything about women’s pants sizes but my guess is they would learn quickly! If they only liked size 6 and under, size 10 to 14 or size 20 to 26 (fat admirers)…whatever, they would ask someone who was their right size to find out.  They would know what size they like just like they know they like women 5’4″ to 5’6″ or women 5’8″ t o 5’11” or whatever based on past experience. That might be the solution to this big problem.

While pants sizes are not a pure and accurate measure of fat percent, they are an indication of how big you will be relative to the man given your height.  They are a measure of butt size, waist width, fat percent as well as height; the whole package.

Maybe the dating sites could do ranges like 0 -4, 6 – 10, 12 -16, 18 – 22, 24 and up.  Yes, this is an emotional issue, I know. Size 14 is the most common size of all sizes for women in America but I just read an article that women who go into the “plus” sizes, 14 and up,  as they age often can’t face clothes shopping at all (is 0 to 12 “minus” size?).

Just remember the clothing stores have separate departments so they can charge you for more fabric and get over the worry!  While sizes vary from brand to brand and store to store, you could pick your lowest size on the dating profile and never be accused of lying!!

Or just do away with body type choices altogether. Just use photos!

References:

Body Positive Math

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