Get Ready For Blob Girl Summer

Talia Birth of Venus
A detail of Sandro Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus” on view at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy.

  • The writer Talia Lavin reflects on emerging from our Covid quarantines with the same perceived flaws and insecurities as before.
  • What if the coming season is less “Hot Vaxxed Girl Summer” and more “Blob Girl Summer”?
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

As the petals drop to the pavement and shots slip into arms, we’re rolling inexorably toward Hot Vaxxed Girl Summer. We, the immunized, survivors of the plague, are supposed to emerge from our Covid quarantines without hesitancy. The problem with this is that I was never Hot in the first place and this Summer is no different.

It’s still just me, blinking hesitantly and shaking a little, sweating under my shapeless clothes and knowing that there are still people dying at war with their own lungs.

The truth is I am a Blob Girl. I am part of a vast middle sector of womanhood who are pretty bad at Being Women in the way that involves an arsenal of products and a wealth of knowledge to address every detail of our femininity with attention and care and perform it with the practiced grace of dancers. My je ne sais quoi is a literal translation: I don’t know what it would take to have such a quality.

This summer, the humid air will press down on me like a sweaty hand and I, in the middle of it, will be as limp and unluscious as a two-day-old funnel cake. In a world of curation through layers of screens-in which even I, stale dough pinched into the rough approximation of a human woman, know my best selfie angles-it is difficult to admit it and still more difficult to hope that somewhere I have a tribe.

There is so much expectation, after more than a year locked inside. We were supposed to improve ourselves during our time away from the world. In a social milieu shaped by the bright relentless self-optimization of capital we are supposed to come out of our bedrooms-slash-workspaces thinner and shinier.

Except I didn’t. For me, what’s coming is Blob Girl Summer.

I know I am not alone, that there’s a secret legion of grieving and unimproved femmes who have tried and failed to enter the halls of a kind of womanhood that is locked off to us. Somewhere there is a place, I imagine it to be not unlike the Temple of Dendur in the Met, where the Hot Girls sleep at night in their sarcophagi. I could get my ticket my life would change, and since I can’t, I live an unchanged life. The last time I tried to sit on a stoop on a sunny day I sat in dog piss and I didn’t even know, for hours.

For years I have tried to enter the temple, but I haven’t tried hard enough, and I have a big furrow in my brow and wrinkly hands. So much of what Being A Woman is supposed to be is the ability to transfix and enchant, glances sticking to you like cobweb.

Talia Temple
The Temple of Dendur at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York

I was built for gazes to pass over, an awning is more exciting than me, a hot dog cart is more exciting than me, the little creatures in the rainwater coming out of the gutter that you can’t see with the naked eye are nonetheless more visually arresting than I am. Am I a woman still? I have tried to be.

So many people have died this year, millions, and I have survived to take into my body a miraculous shot that is the very flower of medical science, a code written in my genome to lock out the great threat. And I, imbibing this, have the temerity to not even be sexy. If Vaxxed Girl Summer is meant to be a kind of pan-cultural Rumspringa I ought to be someone that transcends schlubhood under its thrilling aegis. And yet.

A SUGGESTED RITUAL

The proof of my failure is all around me, entombed in the room I rent. Somewhere in my possession is a pale blue container of Tatcha’s The Water Cream, a moisturizer that goes for $68 for 1.7 fluid ounces. Within the pale unguent, the advertising copy states, are wild roses, and leopard lilies found “on the cool hillsides of Japan.” The cream is thick and white, and the luxuriant vessel that holds it is accompanied by a gold-colored spoon, with which to smooth the pricey goop onto your face. There is a “suggested ritual” to accompany the cream: Camellia Cleansing Oil, Rice Polish, The Essence – $286 worth of salves and scours meant to alchemize one’s face and decolletage into youthful, glowing perfection. I bought it, all of it, in a manic phase in the last year of my twenties.

I was a Blob Girl convinced I could be a Hot Girl and so I was attuned to the chatter all around me about skincare routines. There were articles about it – The Cut runs a repeating feature interrogating how various women “Get Her Skin So Good” (most are very rich or very young or both). I wanted in, and I read the articles, bought the best, as far as I could determine, among a blizzard of beauty guides laden with an intricate web of affiliate links. For a few nights I bathed my skin in these things, titrated them drop by drop onto the bags under my eyes, the sallow tops of my breasts, my unspeakable neck. But I had no discipline; it was just another dilettante’s sally into a kind of femininity I had no real business taking part in.

By now I’ve mostly mostly hidden the serums away, feeling a vague shame about the whole thing.

I’m now 31, and I grew up when Heroin Chic was still the ideal of womanhood, hipbones protruding from low-rise jeans. The belated acknowledgement that flesh belongs adjacent to bones came late in my twenties, too late for me, and I continue to await a great cultural reset that hallows a body that looks like mine–an overstuffed couch dropped from a great height, a knockoff Venus of Willendorf made of plasticine. Somehow and somewhere (many somewheres, or everywhere) I learned that a perfect woman is a mirror that shows you precisely what you desire.

Nonetheless I stand in my sack dress and Walmart sandals and tilt up my bare, pore-heavy face with its incipient jowls and admit with chagrin and little grace that I am not among the blessed. I am a Blob Femme, a creature half-made of envy and shame, whose breasts are incidental and pendulous. A woman sure she is a woman, but sure of little else.

To be a woman and do it properly is a job that requires both effort and skill. It can involve cash, yes, but also work – testing and curation, a keen awareness of audience and effect. Much can be done with simple and cost-effective material, and while its primary cultural exemplars are wealthy, looking fantastic isn’t solely the provenance of the bourgeois. There is value to this work: learning the mysteries of the contour, differentiating foundations, finding the just-right nook of bone that blush ought to be applied to; assessing one’s palette, knowing hair milk from hair gel from hair cream. There is work in building looks each day out of the raw material of simple clothing, and it is work I admire, and at which I lack talent and initiative. There is unimaginable amounts of work involved in sculpting a beguiling figure out of simple flesh. I do not denigrate it; I long for it, strive for it when I’m flush in mad dashes of acquisition.

Talia Makeup school
A group of young women learn to apply make-up, circa 1950.

I never learned how to be flat enough, silent enough, to be all winking, passive chrome. During the pandemic I was lucky enough to be cloistered; this privileged solitude left me alone with a mind that wouldn’t stop buzzing, alone with a body that kept manufacturing its own insistent and extraneous desires. I know that there are many women who excel at both the labor of performed femininity. Who lust and take with grace, and who are as skilled in attaining their own pleasure as they are at giving pleasure away. Still, after this wearing year, a year of morgue-trucks and uncertainty and pain, I am still a woman unskilled at womanhood, not new to its arts but still humbler than an apprentice: A supplicant at the door of the temple.

The world calls me out into the light of Hot Vaxxed Girl Summer, to be warm and poised and lush, but the spring is still cold and I am frightened and frozen at the threshold. Each step I take from an isolation in which my body, being alone, had no locus of comparison, is a step back into a world of all-too-familiar shame. Forgiving myself for every untoward fold and hair, every lemurish attempt at eyeliner, every clumsy waddle on thighs like boiled dumplings, forgiving myself for being me, or even just for being, is its own ongoing labor.

Having survived through a plague I want to live every inch of my survival, the world my oyster and I, its irritant little pearl, the gem at the lip of the mantle, to be plucked out and buffed to shining nacre. Instead I’m the oyster, all slime in the throat, eating grit. Still, I lived. My body allowed me to hide and survive and, surely, for this it has earned a little grace.

Penelope, the wife of Odysseus, undid her weaving each night to ward off suitors and buy herself time. I too have much to unthread each time I close my door on the world. From the poor material of myself, I have to spin patience and a little kindness. Hot Vaxxed Girl Summer is coming, and all I can do is set my fat hands to the loom.

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The 5 best bathroom scales for weighing yourself at home

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Bathroom scales can be helpful for those trying to achieve certain health or fitness goals.
  • The best should be highly accurate and reliable, come with useful added features, and have good value-for-cost.
  • Our top pick, the Amazfit Smart Scale, was one of the most accurate and consistent scales we tested.

Most of us grew up with a scale in the house. And while society has (thankfully) begun to move away from the idea that weight equals health, some people do need to take note of their weight – namely, older adults who need to avoid losing weight unintentionally or those under specific directives from their doctors to monitor it for medical conditions. Other groups, like athletes and bodybuilders, may need or just want to track their weight for professional reasons, as well.

Laura Iu, a New York-based registered dietician nutritionist who specializes in intuitive eating and disordered eating recovery, told Insider that the average person is probably better off not weighing themselves regularly. That’s because the number is not an indicator of health and research shows focusing on your weight can cause more harm than good to your mental state and healthy behaviors.

That being said, if you are in the market for a scale, it’s important to invest in one that’s accurate – which doesn’t always mean the most expensive or the one with the most features. For this guide, I tested several models for accuracy and reliability and took note of accessibility features, weight capacity, and “smart” features like body fat percentage, muscle mass, and hydration levels, to name a few.

At the end of this guide, I’ve also included some insight into the testing methodology I used, what to look for when shopping for a bathroom scale, as well as the other models I considered and answers to common FAQs.

Here are the best bathroom scales:

The best overall

AmazFit Smart Scale

The Amazfit Smart Scale offers accuracy, consistency, and smart features at a fair price.

Pros: Accurate and reliable, attractive design, easy to use, larger surface area, under $50

Cons: Smart features are generally overrated, some kinks in its corresponding app

Our tests found the Amazfit to be one of the most accurate and consistent scales in our consideration. What’s more, no other scale we tried offered both high accuracy and smart features, particularly at this price point. Additionally, its platform is relatively large, making it comfortable to use for those with bigger feet, and its subtle gradient design makes it an attractive bathroom fixture.

Though the accuracy of “smart” scales overall is strongly doubted by experts (see FAQs), users may still be curious to see additional body metrics like heart rate and body fat percentage. Those two stats appear on the display after your weight reading, and you can use the corresponding app — now called Zepp  — to see other details and store your data. Otherwise, the app is only necessary if you want to change the units of measurement from kilograms to pounds.

The app itself, which syncs with the scale via Bluetooth, has a few small issues (mostly pertaining to incomplete translation from Japanese to English) but overall is intuitive, user-friendly, and provides detailed explanations of each metric it provides.

The best budget

Etekcity digital scale

The Etekcity Digital Body Weight Bathroom Scale is an accurate, no-fuss scale at a low price.

Pros: Accuracy, reliability, price

Cons: 400-pound limit

If you’re looking for a simple, trustworthy bathroom scale just to weigh yourself, the Etekcity Digital Body Weight Bathroom Scale has you covered. At just $20, the Etekcity beat out other budget-friendly options in our trials for accuracy and reliability. 

It displays your weight to the second decimal place, the LCD screen is bright and easy to read, and the scale itself feels sturdy and comfortable on which to stand. It’s little wonder this scale is a time-tested hit with Amazon reviewers as well as our reviewers.

The best smart scale

FitTrack Dara scale

The FitTrack Dara scale pairs with a slick phone app to give you a detailed body profile.

Pros: Highly accurate weight readings, easy to use, user-friendly app

Cons: Smart features are generally overrated, expensive, smaller platform

The FitTrack Dara is a sleek device that feels high-tech and easy to use. It works as a basic bodyweight scale of course, and our trials found it to be accurate and reliable. The scale itself only displays a weight reading, but many more metrics are included in the smartphone app, which syncs with the scale via Bluetooth. 

Experts warn to be wary of smart scales in general as it’s not actually possible to accurately measure body fat percentage, hydration, muscle mass, and other traits with this kind of device — it merely provides an estimate based on the other physical data you input like age and height. Regardless, we liked using this scale and its corresponding app, which automatically keeps a record of your weight and other metrics with a clean, user-friendly interface that is easy to use and intuitive to understand.

The best for the visually impaired

Taylor Electronics talking bathroom scale

The Taylor Talking Bathroom Scale is sturdy, reasonably priced, and reads the weight aloud.

Pros: Audible reading, sturdy, simple to use

Cons: Reliability in question

For those with visual impairments, a display-only scale is inconvenient at best and fully unusable at worst, hence the creation of talking scales to give audible readings. Additionally, typical small bathroom scales can be too unsteady for people with balance or mobility issues.

This Taylor Talking Bathroom Scale is well-rated on Amazon by folks with visual impairments: In addition to its LCD display, an automated voice reads the measurement aloud in five different languages (English, Spanish, Greek, German, and Croatian). It’s also made of glass and stainless steel, so its weight makes it sturdy, ideal for those with balance issues. Additionally, its design is simple and easy to use.

Some users do report reduced accuracy as the product ages, though we were not able to test this one ourselves. Still, at $38, it’s still good value for all of its accessible features.

The best high-weight capacity

MyWeigh XL550

The MyWeigh XL-550 is reliable, accurate, and is designed to measure and hold up to 550 pounds.

Pros: Accommodates bodies up to 550 lbs, wide platform

Cons: Expensive, limited availability

Most scales on the market max out around 300 or 400 pounds and tend to have accuracy issues for folks weighing 250lbs or more. But the MyWeigh XL-550 is designed for large bodies, able to accommodate up to 550 lbs in weight. It has a large, sturdy platform — 14.7″ x 12.5″ — to comfortably accommodate people with wide stances. The scale talks (in four languages) to tell users when it’s ready and what their reading is, though this feature is optional and can be turned off. 

Note that if you need a larger platform or higher weight capacity, the same brand makes the XL700, which has a  20″ x 12″ platform and theoretically reads higher weights more accurately (up to 700 pounds); however, it’s much harder to get a hold of and costs over $100. For this reason, we recommend the XL-550 for the vast majority of people as it’s well-reviewed across the board by consumers and professionals alike.

My testing methodology

To test the accuracy and reliability of each scale, I weighed myself using each device and recorded each reading, then reset the scales and weighed myself again. I noted which scales produced dramatically different results between the two trials. I then calculated the standard deviation of the data set to identify statistically significant outliers.

I also weighed a standard 10-pound barbell plate on all but one of the scales (the Amazfit would not produce a reading for an inanimate object) as an additional accuracy test.

Scale Tester bodyweight – Test 1 Tester bodyweight – Test 2 Standardized 10lb weight
Amazfit Smart Scale 112.9 112.8 unable to read
FitTrack Dara Smart Scale 113.1 112.7 10.1
Renpho Smart Scale 114 112.8 10.2
Eufy Smart Scale C1 113.7 112.6 10.1
Etekcity Digital Body Weight Bathroom Scale 112.7 112.7 10.3
EatSmart Products Digital Bathroom Scale 114 113 10.4
Ozeri Precision Bath Scale 114.7 113 10

While using each scale I also paid attention to the user experience, noting how simple and intuitive each device was to use, as well as any issues a customer might want to know about.

I also tested the accuracy of two smart scales. The experts I spoke with for this piece warned that a scale’s report of your body fat, muscle mass, BMR, and more is unreliable since it’s calculating those numbers on your body weight and height, not measuring your actual fat and muscle masses.

It was unsurprising, then, that the two smart scales left me with wildly different readings. While they tested accurately for actual weight (see chart above), I can’t claim either to be accurate for smart readings.

  Body fat Muscle mass Water Bone mass Basal Metabolic rate (BMR) Protein rate Visceral fat index
Dara 20.2% 43.2 lbs 54.8% 5.5lbs 1253 kcal 19.4% 2
Amazfit 29.3% 77.6 lbs 50.2% 4.61 lbs 1176 kcal 12.3% 3

What to look for in a bathroom scale

Accuracy and reliability are the two main factors you want in a bathroom scale, no matter the type. A trustworthy scale will give you correct and consistent readings that accurately reflect changes in your body, and you won’t be misled by too-high or too-low readings. Since there’s no way of knowing from the box whether or not a scale is as accurate as it claims to be, we recommend one of the scales we’ve tested for accuracy.

Smart scales are all the rage, telling users not only their weight but also their body fat percentage and other metrics. Experts warn, however, that these readings are gross estimations and may be much higher or lower than the reality. (Case in point, the Dara and Amazfit gave me two completely different body composition profiles.)

Therefore, it may not be worth it for the average shopper to dole out top dollar for these extra features, but curious-minded folks might enjoy seeing the estimations anyway. 

When evaluating products, value-for-cost is always a factor. There are scales available at every price point, starting at under $20 and going up to over $100. You want the price you’re paying to justify the features promised, and be comparable to similarly-priced competing products in terms of accuracy, reliability, and usability. 

Lastly, consider what specific traits you might need, personally, in a bathroom scale. Talking scales, which read the measurement aloud, may be helpful for people who are blind or visually impaired. For folks in large bodies, you’ll want a scale with a higher weight capacity and potentially a larger platform to accommodate a wider stance.

What else I considered

What else we recommend

  • Renpho Smart Scale ($29.99): The Renpho was slightly less accurate than some of the other scales we tried, but it’s a hit with Amazon reviewers, boasting over 160,000 ratings and a 4.5-star average. 
  • EatSmart Digital Bathroom Scale ($22.40): The EatSmart had some consistency issues in our trial, but it’s sturdy, attractive, and competitively priced.
  • Weight Guru Bluetooth smart scale ($48): We weren’t able to include this scale in our trials, but it’s very highly rated by both Amazon reviewers and our own. Some have reported issues with accommodating large bodies even when well under the weight capacity, but overall users rave about this scale and its Bluetooth integration with smartphones and FitBits.

What we don’t recommend

  • Eufy C1 Smart Scale ($29.99): Our trials found this scale to be less consistent than the others, though not dramatically — it fluctuated just over one pound between readings.
  • Ozeri Precision Bath Scale ($15.95): The Ozeri is a temptingly low price, but our tests and numerous customer reviews determined that the Ozeri was somewhat inconsistent in its readings.
  • MyWeigh XL-550 Talking Scale ($44.39): If you need a scale that can accommodate heavier bodies with wider stances, but doesn’t need the full capacity of the XL700, this MyWeigh model has a capacity of 550 lbs and a larger-than-average platform on which to stand. Not to mention, it’s about half the price.

FAQs

When is the best time to weigh myself?

Family medicine physician Dr. Abisola Olulade, who is based in San Diego, recommended that you weigh yourself first thing in the morning before eating or drinking anything for the most accurate evaluation.


How accurate are scales, in general?

Research has shown that both personal and medical-grade scales can be quite imprecise, but ultimately good enough for public use as long as they are regularly calibrated.

Most people weighing themselves don’t really need down-to-the-ounce precision so much as a general idea of how their bodies are changing. For this reason, Dr. Olulade encourages patients to use one scale consistently — even if it’s not the most accurate device, you’ll be better able to track changes using a single controlled device.


Do “smart scales,” which claim to measure other traits like body fat percentage, hydration, and bone density, really work?

Sort of, but they’re not as precise as you might hope. The only way to get a truly accurate picture of body composition is with an air displacement chamber or MRI, which are expensive and generally only used by specialists and researchers.

Smart scales estimate body composition by sending a weak electrical current up into your body and measuring the resistance with which it’s met. This result is compared to other info your scale already has about you, such as age and gender, to come up with a body composition estimate. In one Consumer Reports trial, even the most accurate smart scales were found to be off by up to 21% in body fat percentage readings.

Despite inaccuracies, some shoppers might want to see those estimations just for fun or out of curiosity. Smart scales are safe to use, so recreational use is fine — just don’t plan to use it as a serious health management tool.

Expert sources

Laura Iu, RD, CDN, CNSC, RYT is a registered dietitian, nutrition therapist, and certified intuitive eating counselor who practices privately in New York City. Iu has worked in hospitals including NYU Langone and Mount Sinai, and is affiliated with The Greater New York Dietetic Association, The International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals, and The Association for Size Diversity and Health (ASDAH).

Abisola Olulade, MD, is a board-certified family medicine physician at Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group in San Diego. She is also affiliated with Atrium Health’s Carolinas Medical Center in North Carolina.

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