New women are happy, independent, imperfect

`Real Women' give up on Superwoman and hate hectoring adverts

Three-quarters of women have given up trying to be an Eighties Superwoman and say they are a lot happier since they stopped striving for perfection. And having a man in their life is no longer very important for two-thirds of women, with only one in five seeing marriage as a goal to be achieved.

Most women say they are not affected by rake-thin models pushed forward by advertisers and the media. Two-thirds of women do not feel pressurised into looking like the models in magazines and fewer dream of losing lots of weight than dream of having enough time to do everything they want or travelling frequently.

They also fail to pine for lost youth, preferring advertisements showing women over 30 who are interesting and attractive, rather than 18-year- olds. And being able to afford to have someone else to do the chores rated higher than being able to turn the clock back.

Women dislike the way they are pigeonholed by advertisers with more than one in three feeling that "most adverts treat women as idiots" and nearly as many think "most ads are basically sexist". Nine out of ten would prefer adverts to show "real women" rather than beautiful actresses and models, and their favourite advertisements are ones that are entertaining and make then laugh.

Their top three television adverts were for Diet Coke [where women ogle a man taking off his T-shirt], Tesco with Jane Horrocks and Prunella Scales and Oxo with Lynda Bellingham - an older, attractive woman with a personality. The most disliked ads were the old Fairy campaign with Nanette Newman, Daz's "doorstep challenge" with Danny Baker and Tampax [a roller-skating glamour girl].

Role models varied from Tina Turner and Oprah Winfrey to Dawn French and Joanna Lumley. At the bottom of the list came Pamela Anderson, Paula Yates and Margaret Thatcher.

According to the NOP survey, which questioned women between 15 and 45, the best things about being a woman today are being able to have both a career and a family; the opportunity to pursue a career if they want to; and the ability to be financially independent from men. The number of women with a mortgage in their own name doubled between 1983 and 1994 and more than a quarter now hold shares.

Nearly nine out of 10 women said they would be confident investing money on their own, 44 per cent would feel confident buying a personal computer and 35 per cent a car. They also said that they would enjoy shopping for these items much more than shopping for clothes, furniture or home decorations.

The role of motherhood is no longer seen as crucial to women's self esteem, with just 15 per cent of women agreeing that a woman is only truly fulfilled when she has had children.

Women who have children still tend to enjoy a traditional role, with 63 per cent saying that in a family with young children they would rather be the one who stays at home. At the same time less than half would feel that being a wife and mother was enough for them.

"The 1990s seem to be a time of great opportunity for women," said Nigel Sharrocks, managing director of Grey. "If they felt under pressure 10 years ago to be the perfect mother, wife and career woman, today they are enjoying the choices they face without the constant need to live up to other people's expectations.

"A new optimistic woman with a strong sense of her own independence and individuality has taken over."

Faces that fit ... and don't fit

What women like...

Diet Coke ad

Joanna Lumley

Tesco ads

Dawn French

Tina Turner

Oxo ads

Oprah Winfrey

Kids in Safeway ads

What women don't like...

Pamela Anderson

Danny Baker and the

Daz challenge

Paula Yates

Nanette Newman on

Fairy Liquid

Margaret Thatcher

Tampax roller-skater ad

Madonna

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: SAGE Bookkeeper & PA to Directors

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has ari...

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Executive

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An On-line Sales & Customer Ser...

Recruitment Genius: Accounts Assistant - Fixed Term Contract - 6 Months

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the largest hospitality companies...

Recruitment Genius: Electricians - Fixed Wire Testing

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a result of significant cont...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map