[This article should be read in conjunction with the article on Male and Female Skeleton]
This page relates and compares the average sizes of American (USA) men and women, there also are some notes relating to transsexual women at the end.
Several sets of tables of anthropometrical measurements are provided here. The first set is derived from MIL-STD-1472D that relates and compares the typical sizes of American men and women for Human Engineering uses, more than 1000 students were measured to collect the data. The second set is derived from a 1997 study for the US Defense Logistics Agency, a group of 127 U.S. Army recruits (60 males and 67 females) were measured for some two dozen dimensions relevant to military dress clothing. For interest, standard garment sizes are listed in a table 3. The fourth set is from the book "Body Composition and Physical Appearance: Applications for the Military Services, (1992)" which compares the size and body composition of 30 to 39 year old males and females in Michigan.
There are a few strange anomalies (possibly errors) in the results, but it's not possible to resolve these without access to the original data.
table set 1 is considered for the findings because of the larger sample
and the far more comprehensive data. However it is interesting to
compare the tables 1 and 2, generally the measurements in table set 2 are
slightly less than those in set 1.
Notes to Tables:
Table Set 1
Table Set 2
Table Set 3
Table Set 4
Correspondence between Male
and Female Percentiles for Size and Body Composition:
An example of how to read the table: the fiftieth percentile for height in women corresponds to the second percentile in men, i.e. half of all women are shorter than the shortest 2% of all men. Also 85% of women are shorter than the shortest 13.1% of men.
Only Table Set 1 is considered further
It's thought that the male "Y" chromosome is mainly responsible for growth so as the girl is genetically "XY" there will inevitably be some degree of skeletal masculinisation. However early female hormone treatment (perhaps combined with surgical removal of the testes) will reduce levels of "male" androgen hormones such as testosterone, and this seems to have some slight benefits, for example slightly broadening the pelvis and reducing the girls adult height (by perhaps an inch) compared with if she had experienced a male puberty.
In general, physical characteristics primarily determined by the body skeleton (e.g. height, size and shape of hands and feet) will lie between the male and female norms post-puberty - although tending more towards the former than the later. This not necessarily bad as the western idea of feminine beauty is for tall and leggy women. As an adult, compared to the average woman, the girl will typically be tall (67.5" vs. 64.25") and have long legs - both absolutely (32.4" vs. 29.9") and relative (48.3% vs. 46.5%) to her height.
Body shape is primarily controlled by oestrogen so its early use allows a normal female body shape to develop, particularly if taken while the body is at its most receptive age - the critical puberty years between about 11 and 15 (depending on the individual). In this case the girl's final post-puberty body shape and "figure" will be obviously female, far closer to genetic female than genetic male in its characteristics. During this key period it is also quite possible (although still rarely done with transsexual boy-to-girls) for an endocrinologist to adjust (slightly increase) the oestrogen dosage of a girl who seems likely to be undesirably tall so as to slow and prematurely stop her bone growth, thereby reducing her final adult height to within female norms.
of Female Hormones - Started After Puberty
Male-to-female transsexuals undergoing sex reassignment after puberty have the major disadvantage in that a normal and average degree of hormonal masculinisation has already taken place. Unfortunately, the complete elimination of all the hormonally induced sex characteristics of the male sex is not possible. In particular, the previous effects of androgens on the skeleton (the average greater height, the size and shape of hand, feet, jaws, and of the male type pelvis) cannot be reversed by female hormone treatment. Only major and dangerous surgery can feminize the appearance of [some] of these masculinised bones, otherwise the physical characteristics of the transsexual determined primarily by the body skeleton will remain constant and probably typically "male" in their absolute size.
However, skeletal size does show a considerable overlap between the sexes, so in some transsexual women the residual male physical characteristics will be far less visible than in others. For example, about 25% of MTF transsexuals are lucky enough to be of normal female height (between about 61½" and 67" in the USA), although conversely about 35% will be exceptionally tall (over 69½") for a woman. One study of 74 post-SRS women found that their average height was 70 inches with a sigma of ± 2 inches; this is rather tall even compared with men. Indeed, while genetic women over 6 feet tall are rare (just 2% of the population), nearly 15% of transsexual women reach this height - handy if they have the age and looks to be a model (aka Tula) but probably rather too noticeable otherwise.
Hormones will of course affect and feminise many secondary sexual characteristics such as fat distribution, musculature and breast development, thereby altering some physical characteristics (e.g. breast size and waist) more towards female norms in proportions, although they're very unlikely to ever actually reach these. Typically, the MTF transsexual will lose about 9 lbs (4 kg) of lean body mass (muscle), but will more than replace this with female type fat and other tissue (e.g. breast) deposits, indeed an overall weight gain of up to 11 lbs (5 kg) is quite normal if there is no change in life style.
For examples of the effects of early female hormone treatment (i.e. begun during normal puberty) on the genetic XY male body, see this article and the galleries of Roberta Close, Eva Robin's and Jenny Hiloudaki. Kim Novak also offers an excellent example of the effect of oestrogen on the body when unopposed by androgen. For exceptionally favourable examples of the effect of hormones started soon after male puberty see the galleries of Amanda Lear, Dana International and Bibiana Fernandez. The article Female Physical Beauty is also worth studying as a baseline for comparison.
Surgical Feminisation of the Male Skeleton
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Copyright (c) 2003, Annie Richards