The 2%

I love facts. Pointless trivia, daft statistics and historical anecdotes, I can’t get enough. It’s why Qi is one of my favourite shows, and so I eagerly downloaded the book 1,227 Qi Facts to Blow Your Socks Off by John Lloyd and John Mitchinson, it’s a fascinating read and already armed me with a ton of random things to tell people (see a selection below). It’s a nice book to dip in and out of when you can’t focus on a novel or something.

Anyway, the other day I read the following fact:

Only 2% of women describe themselves as beautiful.

When I first read this fact my first thought was- You’ve got to be pretty damn self assured to describe yourself as beautiful. I mean, bordering on arrogance.

But then I thought about it some more.

Just 2% is actually rather sad.

I mean, there’s no more info provided, and it could be that a lot of women described themselves as “attractive” or “alright looking”, but still, the fact that only 2 view themselves as beautiful is really bad.

I know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and there may be a kind of humility involved in people’s answers or a fear of appearing conceited or big headed. But the fact that so few women consider themselves beautiful is pretty bad.

Here’s the thing- Think of 100 women you know personally. I guarantee that you’d probably consider far more than 2 of them beautiful. What we’re dealing with is that most of those women are feeling bad about themselves. And that’s just really sad. 

I don’t know how men would answer the question of whether they’d describe themselves as handsome, but I kind of suspect it would be higher. While there is pressure on dudes to look a certain way, it’s nothing compared to the kind of crap women have to put up with. Tina Fey summed it up rather well:


Now, I’m not going to say something patronizing like that all women are beautiful, because well, I’d be lying. That might sound harsh but there are women I don’t find attractive, and beauty is subjective.

What we need to do is stop all the negativity which promotes all these feelings of inadequacy. The really important thing to do is to teach people that it doesn’t matter what others say and the important thing is to be comfortable within yourself. If you think there’s something you want to improve, then work at it, like I am with my weight, but don’t get down on yourself and consider yourself ugly.

I realize that it’s easy to write this, and changing our outlook is tougher. I totally get it. I’m a dude who regularly looks at myself in the mirror with a mix of revulsion and shame, and try as I might I can’t help drawing unflattering comparisons with the Channing Tatums and Ryan Reynoldses of the world.


But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t stop trying to think better of ourselves. I’ve lost some weight and feel better about myself than I used to (I’d now be more likely to describe myself as “unusual looking” than “fugly”), and I try not to dwell on my own flaws.

What we can definitely do is try our best not to contribute to anyone else’s insecurities. The old fashioned “if you can’t think of anything nice to say don’t say anything at all” idea is a good rule to follow, and remember that just because we might not like something doesn’t mean that it’s bad, it’s just not our taste.

On the internet you can find a lot of pictures of women, and many allow you to make comments. I’ve commented or “liked” stuff in the past, usually on pictures I find particularly foxy, but I’m always surprised by how many people post nasty little comments. I mean, just scroll past. It just feels needlessly nasty and I can’t see what they hope to achieve by it.

If I see a girl who’s not my cup of tea I just go on, making a nasty comment would be going out of my way to insult somebody who’s done nothing other than pose or submit a picture of themselves. Even when I don’t like them I kinda respect their confidence and guts for putting themselves out there like that.

I mean, why make a stranger feel bad about themselves? It usually says more about the person making the comment than the picture, and it doesn’t make you look like a winner, no matter how witty you think your put down is. It makes you look like a douchebag.

But perhaps it should go further,  and people should complain about magazines running those nasty “look at the state of her” articles. And any other way of insulting and humiliating people over their flaws or looks.

Of course, this is going to take time. You only need to read comments on YouTube videos to become aware of the fact there are a lot of unpleasant little toerags out there. Hopefully they’ll grow out of it.

Basically this is another case where everybody needs to remember one of life’s most important rules:


Sorry if this seemed to ramble a little, kinda lost focus but I hope I got my feelings and thoughts across clearly enough.

10 Facts from the book

  1. Sir Walter Raleigh’s devoted widow Elizabeth kept his decapitated head in a velvet bag for 29 years- Seriously creepy.
  2. 8 times as many people belong to the National Trust as to the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties combined
  3. In 2005, the 54 billionaires in Britain paid only £14.7 million in income tax between them. Of this, £9 million came from James Dyson- Well done, Dyson, the other 53 of you? Shame on you.
  4. When Peter Benchley, author of Jaws couldn’t think of a title his father suggested What’s That Noshin’ on Ma Leg?– Am I the only one who thinks that’s a great title.
  5. A “riot” in England and Wales must legally involve a minimum of 12 people. Under US federal law it’s only 3 and in Nevada only 2- What kind of lame riot only has 2 people? In fact 12 is pretty pathetic too.
  6. At the outbreak of WW2 zookeepers killed all the poisonous insects and snakes in London Zoo, in case it was bombed and they escaped- Makes sense, but must have been a little grim too.
  7. To celebrate the end of the first Gulf War Kuwati citizens fired guns into the air. 20 people died as a result of the bullets coming down- D’oh!
  8. Each year, drug baron Pablo Escobar had to write off 10% of his cash holdings because of rats nibbling away at his huge stash of bank notes- Possibly the weirdest/most badass problem to have ever.
  9. Wild Bill Hickok’s brother Lorenzo was nicknamed “Tame Bill Hickok”- Which is kinda cute, but probably very annoying for Lorenzo.
  10. The Dyslexia Research Centre is in Reading- Nice work, folks.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.

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