Is being a woman like living in Shark Week all the time?

I have yet to find the actual study referenced in this article, so there is hope that the methodology that led to the statistics listed below was poor and the results therefore invalid. 

Or perhaps because the piece appeared in a UK newspaper, the results are skewed toward a decidedly British sentiment. 

But having spent my lifetime in female dominated industries (education, consumer banking, food services, publishing), in addition to having spent four years enrolled at an all-girl’s college, I know that women spend a great deal of time complimenting and commenting on one another’s physical appearance.

In general, I hear mostly positive comments, since they are the kinds of comments typically said aloud, but if the statistics listed below are accurate, the underlying, internal dialogue is horrifying. 

Say it ain’t so.  

More importantly, if these statistics are accurate, what can I do to spare my daughter from a lifetime of image obsession? 


  • Eight in ten women admitted they judged other women when they met them for the first time.
  • 54 percent said they first look at the size of a woman’s waist, and 45 percent said they check whether they wore too much make-up.
  • Four in ten women analyze their fashion sense, and the same number look at their hair.  A third look at the quality of their skin, while 28 percent see if they have overdone it with the fake tan.
  • One in six size women up the man a woman is with, one in five take note of how short a rival’s skirt is, while the same number look for tattoos. Other criteria they used to appraise a woman included her shoes, bosom, and how nice her nails were.
  • The majority (56 percent) said it took them just 20 seconds before passing judgment on someone.
  • Nine in ten said they were fully aware other women were also judging them.


After reading the statistics again, I can’t help but think that being a woman is like living inside Shark Week, except it’s not confined to television and doesn’t end on Sunday. 

Some please ease my concern.