Ok, here it is! I promised I’d share some of the results I wrote about for the end of my study book so here it is. I think after you read it, you’ll understand why I’m launching the new blog and what it means to me to do so. I’m going to split it into sections, since it’s about 7 pages and I wouldn’t expect anyone to read all of it at once. If you have any questions or want the actual quantitative summary of just the numbers/statistics, feel free to email me.
Also, just for your information, I want to give you some facts about our average respondent.
- She ages between 18-24 (42.5%) and 25-30 (40%).
- She’s white (94.8%) and non-Hispanic (96.2%).
- She probably lives in the Northeast (33.2%); however, there was a good sampling between all other regions of the country- Mid-Atlantic (12.6%), South (19.8%), Midwest (16.8%), Southeast (4.2%)and West (13.4%).
- Whether she’s single (30.7%), in a relationship (39.2%) or married (28.8%) is unclear, but she does not have kids (93.7%).
Seventeen. Glamour. Cosmopolitan. Women’s Health. Allure. Fitness. TeenVogue. Elle. Vogue. Oxygen. Runner’s World. With all these titles and many more, it’s was no surprise that 79.5% of women said that they read magazines on a regular basis, which was characterized as 8 out of 12 months a year. The top five magazines read were Self (62.2%), Shape (59.8%), Women’s Health (45.7%), Glamour (41.2%) and Fitness (41.6%).
What does “beautiful” mean?
It was close, but 52% said that the magazines they read do not represent their idea of beauty; however readers of the top 5 primarily said that they did. There were some suggestions for these magazines, even the top 5, which included more realistic and more diverse approaches to beauty. “It’s so focused on the outside. You read an article on making ‘body peace’ and ‘loving yourself,’ but then two pages later there’s an article on how to make yourself perfect if only you do these 8 simple moves and buy these jeans. It’s so contradictory,” said one respondent who reads Glamour regularly. She’s not the only one who feels this way. “Many magazines teach us that we aren’t ‘beautiful enough’ instead of showing us how we can appreciate who we are,” said one respondent who reads all of the top 5 on a regular basis.
Some more suggestions included, “no airbrushing” and to see “models/people with cellulite, not the clearest skin, frizzy hair, etc…NORMAL people. Naturally thin, toned, curvy, etc.” But stating what the magazines do is not going to change anything because while the editors are great people, they’re also trying to get people to get advertisements and more subscriptions. However, it was shown that readers want to relate to the people in the magazines. Sensationalized gossip is fun every now and again, but regularly, they want to read the stories about their peers, about who other fabulous women around the world who are making a difference in their own lives or in others lives because that’s more inspiring. Now the question to them is “why do you still buy the magazines if you don’t agree with their content or practices?” But that’s for another survey.
When asked how they felt about their bodies, only 19% said that they were happy with their body. Period. Another 6% said that they were generally happy, but would like to tone up a bit and gain more muscle or know they could eat healthier.
That being said, 61% of women said that they think they could lose weight. I was very touched by the 1% who admitted that they are still struggling from an eating disorder and know that they should actually gain weight, but cannot see it for themselves at this time.
Next up: the media’s role, eating disorders and how women view advertisements…