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News flash: women like money, don’t hate their bodies enough

Jan25

by

Women’s Day magazine and AOL Body (is that a thing, AOL Body? A place people go?) conducted a poll, you guys! A poll! It was on the Inarnet, I think it’s called, and women were asked, would they rather have Jennifer Aniston’s body or a million dollars?
You. Are not. Going to believe. What most. Women. Wanted.
Wrong: the money.
CBS’s The Early Show, luckily for us, broke this story, wasting absolutely no one’s time with the shocking news that most women prefer the prospect of financial security over a tight bod.
Women would not really do anything for Jennifer Aniston’s body. Shocking! We say we’re superficial but when push comes to shove, we cave. More shocking still is that women chose the money over the body even though most women described themselves as less than happy with their own physical attributes. Specifically, 30 percent rated themselves “uncomfortable and ashamed.” (That’s a choice the poll gave. Ashamed. As you should be, if you don’t have Jennifer Aniston’s body or didn’t choose to receive it in some magical fairyland transaction.) 30 percent were ashamed, and yet only 22 percent of women wanted the body. Hmm. All 22 percent, we can only hope, were those ashamed women. And the other eight percent of The Ashamed suffered a blow to the head and forgot what they were supposed to answer.
According to The Early Show, some health care professionals are “concerned” about what this says about our priorities. And by “some” they mean the two health-care professionals willing to provide sound bites for the segment. “This survey maybe does suggest that women may be choosing health over wealth,” observes clinical psyhcologist [sic] Rene Zweig.” Actually if you watch the segment (as, sadly, I did), she actually says, “This survey maybe DOES suggest that women may be choosing health over wealth.” So I’m guessing the producer said to her, “Would you say that this survey suggests that women may be choosing health over wealth? And you say‚Ķ?” while nodding at her. And the psychumoncology lady was all, “Uh, okay, I would say that! It maybe DOES suggest that, sure! Hey, when will this be on?”
I don’t mean to pick on this one person. Hey, some of us here have been put through the morning-show ringer, found ourselves spitting out exactly what the corporate machine wants us to say, woken up the next morning feeling sick and used. As for the other professional in this piece, dietitian Keri Glass, she tell us, “I think this survey absolutely points to the fact that our values are a little off.” I wonder if someone asked her, “Do you think this survey points to the fact that our values are a little off?” I suppose I’ll never know for sure. Except I do know, deep in my million-dollar-wanting heart.
I realize this isn’t the most important news item that’s come out this week, but this one stuck in my craw. It’s such a perfect, horrifying example of the worst sort of fake news. The fake morning news that’s designed to make women feel defensive and awful before they’ve even finished their breakfasts. (Hope that milk in your bran cereal is fat free, ladies!)
There’s not a single moment in the segment that isn’t insulting to women. The poll itself is insulting, assuming as it does that 1) all women consider Jennifer Aniston’s body to be the only one worth having; 2) women are comfortable enough financially that turning down a million dollars for a good body would be even a remote option, 3) the idea of having someone else’s body (as opposed to being given an improved version of one’s self, or perhaps being given the time and resources to get into shape) isn’t inherently creepy.
So, Woman’s Day and AOL Body, did you find out what the income level of your poll responders were? Whether they’re married? Have kids? How old they are? If so, CBS news took no note of it. Given no real information of any value, they chose to conclude from this worthless poll that women wanting money over tautness means they’re wrong. The message behind the poll is that having a perfect body is more important than anything else. More important than your future. Than your family’s well-being. Not a single word in this segment mentioned any of these possibilities. (Then there’s the obvious point that if you have a million dollars, I bet you could afford, you know, a gym membership.) Or that money represents power and freedom, and that women, it turns out, value those more than Anistonal (new word!) perfection. And thank God for that.
One wonders (or, okay, I wonder) if CBS wasn’t seriously annoyed that they couldn’t tell the world that ALL WOMEN WANT TO LOOK LIKE A MOVIE STAR, so they decided to teach us all a little lesson. At the end of the segment, CBS took to the street to ask women what they thought of the poll. I think it’s telling that they showed a young woman who concluded that women are “very materialistic.” I have a sneaking suspicion that maybe several woman told them just where they could shove their poll, but that wouldn’t have fit their message, would it?

About the author

Alice Bradley

http://www.finslippy.com
Alice Bradley was a regular contributor to Alpha Mom, writing about current events as they related to parenting. You can read about her daily life at her personal blog, Finslippy.


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15 Responses to “News flash: women like money, don’t hate their bodies enough”

  1. Frogdancer Jan 25 at 4:42 pm Reply Reply

    I just LOVED this post. I’m so glad that you chose to rant about it. (In an intelligent, considered way, of course.) In Australia too, we’re bombarded with this sort of garbage, to the point that someone like me… (mother of four, Australian size 10, which is small) until very recently still felt as if I was fat. And I’m a supposedly smart, tertiary educated professional who should naturally be able to rise above it all.
    Yeah right. Had to wait until my mid forties before reality set in. About that poll… gee. Do you think a GUY might’ve put it together??? (or does that open another huge can of worms…?)

  2. amanda Jan 25 at 7:00 pm Reply Reply

    Geeze. As if I needed another reason to be reminded why I think the news should be avoided at all costs. (And yet, I STILL listen to NPR all day.) Honestly as much as an extremist as he can be, I think Michael Moore has it mostly right when he blames mass media for actually creating a significant portion of the problems it reports.
    Sigh.
    Living under a rock looks better and better.

  3. SuburbanCorrespondent Jan 25 at 8:30 pm Reply Reply

    Are you sure you didn’t make this up? I can’t even get my mind around it. And were you foaming at the mouth as you were typing this column? I wouldn’t blame you.
    So, the choices were “Would you rather have a perfect(?) body or a million dollars” and the poll givers decided that one answer was shallow and one wasn’t? What?
    Million dollars for me, hands down. My body’s good enough, thank you!

  4. Marcy Jan 26 at 4:43 am Reply Reply

    The great thing about a poll like this is you can sensationalize the results either way!! I’ll bet that million bucks that if most women had chosen to have the “perfect body” there would’ve been all sorts of segments about how body-obsessed women are, blah blah blah. It’s a win-win for the media!

  5. Martta Jan 26 at 11:44 am Reply Reply

    Uh, can I vote for Jennifer Aniston’s bod AND $1 millon? Just kidding, of course. I’d rather have Jessica Alba’s body.
    But seriously, bodies/looks fade but money can last forever if you invest it right, so yeah, I’d vote for the cash.
    Would they even bother asking a man a question like this?

  6. SuburbanCorrespondent Jan 26 at 9:28 pm Reply Reply

    Oh, and mosey on over to Derfwad Manor (http://derfwadmanor.blogspot.com/2008/01/you-want-me-to-do-what.html) to read a fun and amusing rant on women supposedly wanting to stay young-looking forever.

  7. RLJ Jan 28 at 4:45 am Reply Reply

    Alice, and commentators, have you NOT understood? What do women need money for? With Aniston’s body they can get a rich man to see to their every material need.
    30% “ashamed of their body?” Shame the poll didn’t include the option: OR for people to become celebrities as a result of displaying some sort of talent and not for fitting a very, narrow and easily marketable stereotype of what constitutes “pretty.” Sorry, Jen, this isn’t aimed at you, I’m sure you are lovely, but wouldn’t it be nice if your peer group correlated a little more with a general cross section of the population and women weren’t primarily judged on the size of their butts?
    In my little world with my mortgage-paid-off, “socialist” public healthcare, state subsidised kindergarten, comfortable, but far from high paying job and a normal (6 months pregnant) body I don’t particularly fancy either Aniston’s body or the money. What would I do with a million bucks? I understand that’s only worth about 50 British quid these days anyway ;)

  8. Hatchet Jan 28 at 11:37 am Reply Reply

    I’d say the smart women responded with MONEY. Mostly because if you HAVE money, just like JA you can get a personal trainer and then GET the body.
    You know, if that’s important to you.
    Or you could do something like go to college; pay for your children to go to college; buy a house. You know, the stuff that only fickle women would care about compared to getting SEXX-AY.
    But then, I’m just not surprised by how ridiculous that which pretends to be journalism has become.
    BTW, Alice: you rock.

  9. Liana Jan 28 at 11:47 am Reply Reply

    I would vote for the money, too! And I agree with Marcy, they still would have been critical and sensationalized it if results were the opposite.
    Of COURSE I want money rather than J. Aniston’s body! I honestly think it’s the better choice- esp. cause choosing J. A.’s body is just looking for a quick fix instead of actually getting healthy on one’s own. Sheesh.

  10. MG Jan 29 at 12:05 am Reply Reply

    Uhhhhh this makes me so stabby.
    Jennifer Aniston is a smoker.
    So I don’t know that out of allllllllll the “healthy” bodies in the world, I would necessarily pick hers.

  11. Mauigirl Jan 31 at 12:21 am Reply Reply

    Great post, Alice. And I agree with the other poster – if I HAD a million dollars, I could GET the body. I wouldn’t have to work (at least I could get by without working I think!) and that would mean I’d have time to go to the gym and to yoga class, or hire that personal trainer, etc.
    SO simplistic. A ridiculous poll.

  12. Mrs.Strizzay Jan 31 at 9:50 am Reply Reply

    I totally agree with the fake news thing, maybe they could have added a pic of “fat” post baby Britney to the mix. For all we know those women planned on using some of their million bucks to get into shape. Thats what I would do, but still I am left feeling a bit ashamed.

  13. JennyM Jan 31 at 2:30 pm Reply Reply

    Blarrgh. This is why I have abandoned the morning shows and have started leaving the TV on the The Weather Channel while I get ready for work in the morning. Which I guess I’ll do until they start running segments on “How the Weather Makes You Fat” or something. I’ll watch my weather on the 8′s 15 times and 432 commercials for “How Weather Changed History” before I can take that “news” crap anymore.

  14. lori Feb 08 at 1:50 pm Reply Reply

    Could I have Jennifer Aniston’s Money instead? The Friends money has got to be fairly substantial…
    My answer would have been the money. I guess that’s wrong somehow? I don’t think my head would work on Jennifer Aniston’s body. Or would her head be thrown in for good measure? Is it a brain swap thing? Like when Joey played a woman in a man’s body? Do I maybe have too many Friends episodes trapped in my head?

  15. b Feb 23 at 1:25 pm Reply Reply

    How about a poll that asks if women would choose a great body or a happy family life or a million dollars. Maybe we won’t seem so “materialistic.”
    Dumbass poll.

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