The average woman criticises herself at least eight times a day, a study has found.
A worrying trend of negativity among women was revealed by a survey of 2,000 women – with one in seven women admitting to criticising themselves regularly throughout their day.
Most of those surveyed wanted to lose weight, and image-based criticisms were by far the most prevalent.
Not earning enough money and deliberately deflecting compliments were other common put-downs.
Put-downs: A worrying trend of negativity among women was revealed by a survey of 2,000 women – with one in seven women admitting to criticising themselves regularly throughout their day (file image)
Selfies and social media platforms such as Instagram were blamed as being a driving force behind today’s visual culture.
Women are bombarded with images of perfection while at the same time expected to balance both working lives and family lives, which experts concluded led to women’s critical relationships with themselves.
Lifestyle judgements were also found to be prevalent, including not earning enough money or having the ‘right’ job.
‘Today’s hectic and visually-driven world has meant that we’re seeing a rise in women being self-critical, from the way they look to the way they feel at work,’ said Zoe Griffiths, Head of Public Health and Programme at Weight Watchers, which conducted the survey.
‘Our research has shown that being unkind to ourselves has been an underlying theme for women for many years, but a set of very modern cultural conditions have increased the intensity of this unkindness which are hard to avoid.
‘At Weight Watchers we know that to adopt a healthy lifestyle it is important to build a better relationship with yourself in order to make a positive change.’
Insult: Women are bombarded with images of perfection while also expected to balance both working lives and family lives, which experts said led to women’s critical relationships with themselves (file image)
THE 20 MOST COMMON WAYS THAT A WOMAN CRITICISES HERSELF
1. You’re too fat/overweight
2. Your hair is a mess
3. Your belly looks big
4. You don’t do enough exercise
5. Feeling scruffy next to other women
6. Not earning enough money
7. You say you are having a ‘fat day’
8. Not wearing certain items of clothing because you think you can’t pull it off
9. You wish you were as photogenic as other women on social media
10. You deflect compliments by saying something negative about yourself
11. You worry people are talking about you behind your back
12. Feeling underdressed
13. I’m not stylish enough
14. You don’t have sex with your partner enough
15. You aren’t as creative as other women
16. Your bum looks big
17. You aren’t as organised as other women
18. You don’t spend as much time with your friends as you should
19. You’re not wearing enough make-up
20. You aren’t attractive to your partner
The findings also showed that women begin berating themselves early in the day, with almost half of those surveyed – 46 per cent – admitting to criticising themselves at least once before 9.30am.
What’s more, the study found that 42 per cent of women admitted to never complimenting themselves, while the remainder gave themselves a positive thought or ‘pat on the back’ just once a day.
The bursts of self-criticism are most common when looking in a mirror or out clothes shopping, with a concerning 60 per cent of women admitting to having days where they felt they criticised themselves constantly throughout the day.
The research was conducted as part of WomanKind, a nationwide campaign that explores why modern women are unkind to themselves and how they can counter the habit.