I'm just a fat gal with a blog and an opinion. Well, lots of opinions.

Too FAT for an Online Survey?!


Yeah, that’s what just happened to me. I was rejected for being too fat! The company doing the survey Create With Context, offered a $15 gift cert. code for Amazon upon the completion of the survey. They did not specify beforehand that it would ask for height and weight (and then make you do math!) and finally ye olde BMI chart (they make you figure out yourself, too…so nice) before even qualifying. I could have really used that $15, yo! But I was very angry about this. So I responded to their email in kind:

I went to take this survey and was rejected to due my BMI #.
This is problematic for so many reasons I cannot even begin to explain.
BUT here’s the 1st one:

1. The person who dreamed up the BMI said explicitly that it could not and should not be used to indicate the level of fatness in an individual.

The BMI was introduced in the early 19th century by a Belgian named Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quetelet. He was a mathematician, not a physician. He produced the formula to give a quick and easy way to measure the degree of obesity of the general population to assist the government in allocating resources. In other words, it is a 200-year-old hack.

Want more? Here:

I’m sure you’ll respond with something along the lines of “we cannot control the restrictions of the survey due to the specific needs and nature of the survey…” Yadda yadda yadda.


I would of course prefer to take part in your surveys, but I feel that I can’t since I have been made to feel unworthy due to this ridiculous BMI nonsense. Please remove me from further surveys and hopefully one day you or your company or the world for that matter will wake up and realize that fat does not equal unhealthy.



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posted under Bullshit, fat, Fat Acceptance
14 Comments to

“Too FAT for an Online Survey?!”

  1. On July 30th, 2010 at 7:10 pm Rachel Says:

    BMI is such a fucking crock. It really incenses me that in spite of how far we’ve come– yeah, we have these freakin cell phones that practically make us pancakes, online dating’s become the norm, and all this other technology we didn’t imagine possible a mere 15 years ago– that doctors, the media, insurance companies, and so forth rely on this totally UNRELIABLE measure. It does not measure health or physical fitness nor take in other factors like heredity, previous/current health problems, and whatnot.

    So irritating!

  2. On July 31st, 2010 at 8:26 am Not Blue at All Says:

    Yeah, you said it! I really have nothing to add. You took the thought right out of my brain on the technology tip. Ha!

  3. On July 31st, 2010 at 4:00 am Bri Says:

    Sing it sister!

    PS Really enjoying your blog!

  4. On July 31st, 2010 at 8:26 am Not Blue at All Says:

    Oh my gosh! Thank you!

  5. On July 31st, 2010 at 5:30 am K Says:

    Um, wow. I took the survey too and sorry, hon, but i think you are taking it way too personally. I know this might offend you but if you believe me but if you hear me out you might see that what I’m about to say could make you feel better.

    These surveys are designed to target certain, very specific, demographics. I’m sure you know that. If it were a survey about the places you would like to visit one day, I doubt you would take it personally if you discovered they are actually look for people who are interested in going to Ghana or Saudi Arabia.You would shrug and be like, wow, sucks, I wanted the money but oh well! You wouldn’t compose a letter and say they are discriminating against people who have preferences of travelling to specific places, would you?

    Bottom line: it’s a survey. they are not spreading fat hate, they are trying to target a specific group of people.

  6. On July 31st, 2010 at 8:29 am Not Blue at All Says:

    No, I know this and I mentioned it in my letter. But c’mon…if they’re going for scientific specifics, the BMI IS BOGUS! I don’t take your comment personally at all. I just found it very odd that since I had taken other health related surveys for this company and was suddenly denied based on archaic measurement. Just annoying. If I was truly offended or angry, believe me, there would have been nothing but expletives. Ha-ha!

  7. On August 1st, 2010 at 2:29 am Simone Lovelace Says:

    Wait, I’m so confused! What was the survey even about? And how could your weight have possibly been relevant???

  8. On August 1st, 2010 at 8:37 am Not Blue at All Says:

    They didn’t say what it was about. I had taken ones with them before on health stuff, but my height/weight had never been asked. The thing is, I could have lied completely, but I didn’t and so got booted. It’s not that big of a deal, just irritating.

  9. On August 3rd, 2010 at 10:29 am Lampdevil Says:

    I know that surveys do pre-select for certain demographics that they want to get information from. That’s fairly reasonable, I’ve been turned down for surveys before. The BMI thing seems sort of… strange, though? Did they only want the opinions of people within a certain size range? If so, what for? If that’s what they DID want, I can see why they’d fall back on BMI… cuz EVERYONE KNOWS (ha ha no) that BMI is SUPER-SCIENTIFIC. Which it really isn’t, but EVERYONE KNOWS IT IS so that makes it so, right? Right?

    Pointing out the general faultiness of BMI was kinda awesome to do. Maybe they’ll take it into account when doing their next survey, and maybe they’ll get better results as a… result?

  10. On August 3rd, 2010 at 10:48 am Not Blue at All Says:

    I guess because I had done a survey with them before on health stuff and I’d never been rejected by an online survey I was a little taken aback…especially because of the BMI thing. Yes, it was a bit of a knee-jerk reaction, but I felt that I gave them some decent info on the topic, too. Perhaps it won’t change anything for that company, but just maybe the person who got that email will think about the BMI in a different way. I know that I can’t just stop fat hate or kill the BMI in it’s entirety on my own, but if I can share info with one person and maybe it makes them a little more open to things, then that’s all I could hope for.

  11. On August 12th, 2010 at 7:30 am Bill Westerman Says:

    Hello, I’m one of the founders of Create with Context, and wanted to apologize for the situation. As you guessed, we did need to use BMI as a way of grouping people, because we’re looking for individuals from a broad range of body types, most definitely including people who are larger than ‘average’. We had a very solid turnout for the survey, and many of the BMI ranges filled up quickly – as we needed a certain number of people at each BMI range – so that’s likely what you ran up against.

    Again, my apologies.

  12. On August 12th, 2010 at 12:39 pm Not Blue at All Says:

    Thank you for following up on this, I appreciate the clarification. What I don’t appreciate is your addressing this on my blog rather than emailing me directly. But thank you regardless.

  13. On August 12th, 2010 at 12:52 pm Bill Westerman Says:

    Ah, sorry about that. I didn’t see your original email – I just saw the blog entry here when Google Alerts sent it to me.

  14. On August 12th, 2010 at 12:56 pm Not Blue at All Says:

    No worries.

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