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Survey

Here’s something you probably didn’t know: I wanted to do the survey before I wanted to write the book. Beauty and the Beast began because I was curious, as most books – definitely non-fiction books – should start out. In my opinion, if you’re not curious, then you obviously don’t care enough to go to the trouble of writing something.

The first version of the survey, which probably appeared during a conversation with a friend of mine, had two questions on it: are you happy and do you think that you’re beautiful? This was tossed around casually and then I started thinking about all the things that I would ask strangers if I had the chance. Of course, few of those questions made it to my final survey, but a few did and I was always intrigued by the answers I got. I knew that I was going to ask the questions and it was from that point that I started seriously thinking about writing about the answers that I got; it snowballed from there.

I wish I could show the survey in a more reader-friendly manner, but this is all I can do for now, so here are the questions that I handed out to 100 high school girls and beside them are the answers received…

(Note: Some girls skipped questions on the survey and as it was already awkward and personal to be asking several of them, I didn’t push them to respond and just left the answers in decimal points.)

 

Question

Yes

No

Are you satisfied with your current body? 

43.4% 

56.6% 

Do you think that you’re a normal weight for your height?

69.1%

30.9%

Would you consider plastic surgery?

24.2%  

75.8%

Do you feel a pressure to have a different body?

75%

25%

Would you be happier if you were thinner?

59.2%

40.8%

Do you have to be thin to be pretty? 

10.2%

89.8%

Do you think your personality matches your appearance?

79.2%  

20.8%

Have you seen a Jenny Craig commercial/advertisement?

96%

4%

Have you seen a Weight Watchers commercial/advertisement?

95%

5%

Have you seen an LA Weight Loss commercial/advertisement?

95%

5%

Have you seen an Herbal Magic commercial/advertisement?

77%

23%

Are most advertisements an accurate portrayal of your life?

6%

94%

Are most movies and television shows realistic? 

4%

96%

Do you feel that others judge you by your appearance?

96%

4%

Have you experienced negative comments about your appearance?

87.1%

12.9%

If so, would changing your appearance make these comments stop?

43.3%

56.7%

Also, do you ever take such negative comments into account?

60.6%

39.4%

 

Family

Peers

Equal

Are the negative comments more hurtful from family or from your peers?

23.7%

30.1% 

46.2%

Can negative comments change the way you think about yourself? 

88.8%

11.2%

Do you and your friends talk about your bodies?

81% 

19%

 

Positive

Negative

Is the talk more often negative or positive?

32.1%

67.9%

Do you compare yourself to the bodies of models?

40.8% 

59.2%

Do you compare yourself to the bodies of celebrities?

49.5%   

50.5%

Can people look like models?

67% 

33%

Should everyone look like celebrities? 

5.2% 

94.8%

Including yourself, do you know anyone with unhealthy eating behaviour?

(ex: starving, vomiting, using laxatives, skipping meals)

78% 

22%

Would you recognize the signs of an eating disorder?

86.7%  

13.3%

Would you tell an adult if you knew someone with an eating disorder?

73%  

27%

Would you ever go on an extreme diet if you thought you were fat?

32.7%  

67.3%

Do you follow the Canadian Food Guide?

29.3% 

70.7%

Do you think that you should eat better?

91% 

9%

Is eating in a healthy manner a priority?

74%  

26%

Do your parents diet?

50%

50%

 

Mom

Dad

Both

If they do diet, which parent?

61.2%

2.1%

36.7%

Have you ever gone a diet?

44.9%

55.1%

Do you get exercise at least three times a week?

68.8% 

31.2%

 Is exercise a priority?

70%

30%

Can exercise be fun?

92%  

8%

Do you usually feel healthy?

63.6% 

36.4%

Do you usually eat breakfast (at least four days a week)?

59.8% 

40.2%

Do you ever feel guilty after you eat something unhealthy?

63% 

37%

Do you feel beautiful?

59.6% 

40.4%

 

Stupid

Fat

Is it more hurtful to be called stupid or fat?

37.4%  

62.6%

 

Yes

No

Do you buy diet, light, low calorie, sugarless etc products?

55% 

45% 

If so, why?

Health: 36.4%  

Appearance: 5.5%  

Both: 52.7%  

Other:  5.5%

  

Survey FAQ

Why only one hundred girls?

    Answer: Other than a few of my friends who volunteered to help get people to fill out the survey, I was doing this on my own during my spare in class. One hundred girls felt like a lot to me. ALSO, I had to go through each survey and tally every response, which took hours, so any more and I would have had real issues. One hundred seemed like a legitimate number of people to ask, but not too large for me to handle.

 

How long did it take?

     A: Well, I think I did the survey (with help from several wonderful ladies in a few of my classes taking some surveys to their other classes) in about a week and then tabulated everything over a weekend. I mostly just remember trying to ask all the girls on spare in the library to fill out the survey and praying that they wouldn’t look at me like I was crazy. Oh, and counting tallies forever… That was the worst part, because I had to go through all of them and tally onto a master sheet, and then count all the tallies and make sure that I had gotten it right, and then change that number into a percent.

 

Aren’t you glad that no one made fun of your survey?

      A: I don’t think it’s paranoid to assume that they did, but they also often started talking to their friends about body image and beauty and I loved to hear that conversation start up around library tables. Any time I can get people talking about something like it matters, I feel like I’ve done something good. So, I’ll be mocked if that’s what it takes I guess.

 

 

 

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