Vain or just paranoid? Women check their reflection EIGHT TIMES a day
By Tom Goodenough
Published: 11:59 GMT, 11 May 2012 | Updated: 13:13 GMT, 11 May 2012
The next time a woman stares at your sunglasses don't be so sure she's about to ask where you bought them from.
And if she's looking intently at her smartphone, it may not be her messages she's checking - it could well be her appearance.
Women will check their reflection an average eight times a day - and will happily use the reflection from other people's glasses and phone screens to ensure they are looking their best, research has found.
Other popular places to take a peek include shop windows, car wing mirrors and even, for one-in-ten of the more technologically-minded, their smart phone screens.
Many women keep a constant eye on their appearance - with hair and make-up the most important things to check
The same number of ladies even admitted to being unable to walk past a car without bending to check their hair and make-up in the glass.
Ten per cent also said they check a compact mirror at least ten times in a single working day, with half claiming they wouldn't leave the house without one.
Despite the findings, however, it emerged three quarters of women hate looking in the mirror altogether and 39 per cent said it affects their confidence.
The study, carried out by Simple Skincare, also showed that four out of ten women believe they look better or worse depending on which mirror they happen to look at themselves in.
A third think they are at their best in their own bathroom mirror - while one in twenty said they looked their worst in the mirror in the toilet at work.
A savvy ten per cent of women frequently check out their reflections in their smartphone screens
According to Dr Christine Bundy, a Senior Lecturer in Health and Medical Psychology at the University of Manchester, however, vanity or narcissism are not the reasons behind many women looking at themselves so often.
She said: 'There’s an assumption women check out their reflection in the mirror a lot because they are vain, but that’s not often the case.
'Many women have busy lives where they are constantly on the go and want to look their best so giving themselves a quick glimpse when they get the chance is only natural.
'If you have a job where you need to look presentable and well groomed then it’s important to check your appearance to boost your confidence, but remember, it’s how you present yourself overall, not just how you look that matters.'
Paranoia is another reason why women often check their reflections - with one in ten looking to see they haven't broken out in spots.
More than three quarters of women said they check their appearance far more than men do - with looking at hair and make-up the most common reasons for having a glance at one's reflection.
Dr Bundy said there was a simple reason behind the discrepancy between the sexes: 'There is so much more attention on how women look compared with how men look, and women who constantly check their appearance are more likely to be self-conscious than vain.'
The poll of 2,000 women also found one in ten girls touch up their make-up at least three times a day while one in five re-do their hair more than four times every day.
Half of those polled said they think that people who look in the mirror all day are vain and 24 per cent said they just take pride in their appearance.
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Was it the Sun wot won it? In a text less than an hour after the victory for leave was declared, editor Tony Gallagher told the Guardian: “So much for the waning power of the print media.”
The Sun, which came out last week with a union jack-draped front cover urging its readers to “BeLeave in Britain” and at 6am on Friday published “See EU later”, did not rise against the EU alone. British newspapers were overwhelmingly in favour of Brexit, with the Mail, Telegraph, Express and Star accounting for four times as many readers and anti-EU stories as their pro-remain rivals.
“If you believe in Britain, vote leave,” urged the Mail on Wednesday, lambasting the “lies” and “greedy elites” of a “broken, dying Europe” on its front page.
Such headlines were not just the hallmark of an increasingly bitter referendum campaign – with its relentless focus on anti-immigration stories – but came after years of anti-EU reporting in most of the British press.
In February, the Mail front page asked simply “Who will speak for England?”, highlighting the causes of independence and nationhood that have so helped the leave campaign. As the UK considers the far-reaching consequences of leaving the EU, it seems as good a moment as any to consider who has now spoken for England – the people alone or a Eurosceptic press that has campaigned against Brussels for decades.
In recent weeks, as the polls got closer, the desire to highlight what newspapers considered the worst excesses of the EU’s freedom of movement laws led to some horrible errors. The Mail was forced to run a correction to a front page story that claimed that a group of migrants were from Europe when video footage showed members of the group, which included three children, say they are from Iraq and Kuwait. Other papers, including the Sun, reported the same story.
Like most pro-leave politicians, the editors of these newspapers say they have simply reflected the fears of the British electorate, fears that were largely ignored by the “establishment” made up of politicians and other papers such as the Guardian and the Financial Times.
This argument - that the “liberal elite” professed expertise but were out of touch with real people – was made not just by newspaper editorials but by Ukip leader Nigel Farage. As another tabloid editor said: “If you’d listened to Twitter or Facebook there would have been a massive vote for In.”
In an interview earlier this week, Mail Online publisher Martin Clarke shrugged off the confusion of the Middle East with Europe by saying the migrants “were in the back of a van illegally” and “did come from somewhere via somewhere”.
When asked whether the Mail, in years of reporting about the “hordes” of migrants and full-up Britain, had stoked the fears, he said: “We’ve reported people’s very legitimate fears over immigration. We don’t stoke the fears. The fears are there.”
The debate over whether newspapers reflect views or influence votes has raged since long before the Sun claimed it was responsible for the unexpected Conservative general election victory of 1992. Perhaps tellingly, this was also the last time a general election vote was as high as Thursday’s 72% turnout.
Since the early 1990s, newspapers have suffered from the rise of the internet and social media giants such as Facebook and Google. In 1990, when the Sun first called for a referendum its circulation was closer to 4m; today it sells less than half that total. Other anti-EU tabloids have fared even less well – although the Mail, with 13.9m online users as well as 1.4m print buyers can claim to have increased its reach and power in that time.
Surveys show that the British people trust the papers less than their European counterparts. As recently as September one showed that 73% of people in the UK “do not tend to trust” the printed press – the highest figure among all EU member states and a staggering 23% higher than the EU average.
And yet there is evidence that, despite such declining readerships and lack of trust, the press still sets the agenda. Where the newspapers lead on issues, far more trusted broadcasters follow. The latest research from Loughborough University’s centre for research in communication and culture found that issues which dominated the press also led the television news. While this is partly due to the campaign itself, analysis shows that the number of stories about immigration continued unabated in the last three weeks of the election while those about the economy declined.
“The media has more influence in telling people what to think about than telling them what to think” said David Deacon, Loughborough’s professor of communication and media analysis.
Newspapers struggle to reflect the momentous news of the Brexit vote
Since the start of the year there have been more than 30 splashes about migrants in the Mail and the Express and 15 in the Sun, according to research by Liz Gerard, a former Times night editor.
There is some evidence that a stream of reports of the “bent banana” type have misled the electorate about the power of the EU. Research by the independent UK Electoral Commission in 2013 found “low levels of contextual understanding of the EU, with some participants having no knowledge of the European Union, or the status of UK membership of the EU, at all”. Few Brits knew whether the Swiss were fellow EU members or that a draft memo in Brussels would not automatically become British law.
Faced with newspaper outrage over plans to change the name of Bombay mix to Mumbai mix or ban prawn cocktail crisps the EU set up a Euromyths website, which offers officials in Brussels a chance to rebut media stories. The latest of about 650 reports to date claims that the Express’s “EU £2,600 tax bombshell” story was completely wrong. However, it is not clear how many people out of the Express’s circulation 410,000 read the rebuttal.
Giving evidence to the Leveson inquiry in 2012, Rupert Murdoch described the “Sun wot won it” headline as “tasteless and wrong” and reported giving the then Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie “a hell of a bollocking”.
Whether Murdoch did or not, he seems more likely to be giving the current Sun editor a bottle of champagne than a bollocking today.