Hello, I’m Bertie. This column is basically a place for me to call bullshit on girl related stuff that I think is dumb. While I appreciate the importance of girl talk, I’m not about to braid your pubic hair or send you the results of my latest smear test. Instead, I will pass on any remotely useful knowledge I happen to discover re: being a FEMALE. Trust me: I’m not a doctor, but I do have a Ph.D in pretty girl bullshit.
PRETTY GIRL BULLSHIT #27: 63 PERCENT OF GIRLS WANT TO SHOW YOU THEIR NIPPLES
This morning I spent some time thinking about statistics. I don’t really have a maths brain (sometimes when I’m drunk, I’m amazing) so whenever people cite figures and data I tend to just believe them and get on with it.
The problem is, finding out how much of Britain hates Tesco is one thing, but undermining the aspirations and intelligence of all the teenage girls in the country is – obviously – another. Last week, this video about saying no to Page 3 landed in my inbox, and it cited (via the Huffington Post via The Guardian via a battle-hardened 2005 survey) the battle-hardened statistic that 63 percent of British teenage girls aspire to be glamour models.
I hope and pray that I never have to hear that awkward, sensationalist statistic tripping off the tongue of an enraged social campaigner again, but there’s no point, because when a figure is so absurdly exaggerated and improbable as this, it reverberates through the sphere of shoddy journalism for years. Yep, even more years than it has already.
For anybody who doesn’t know, that statistic, which has done the headline rounds about 50,000 times (approx), came from a survey in which girls between the age of 15-19 were actually asked whether they’d rather be Abi Titmuss, Germaine Greer, or Anita Roddick.
I mean TBF, I might have said the same thing. They also refrained from mentioning in their results that Abi Titmuss was and still is a qualified nurse and was appearing on Celebrity Love Island at the time, thus totally discounting any other kind of potential motive tweens might have for choosing her. Plus they skipped the bit where in the actual survey (apparently conducted by a "mobile entertainment company") only 7 percent of girls said they aspired to be like Jordan.
While I tried to remain calm about this sudden resurgence, and not excitedly flap my breasts around in a panic, I found it difficult to understand what was happening. If people were still talking about this, was it being reconsidered as plausible? Preaching the gospel of that statistic leant people a strange agenda anyway: was this a conspiracy to undermine our education system, the young female population, the media, or – God forbid – Abi Titmuss?!
I decided to go out and conduct my own research about certain issues that were bothering me, to see whether or not women can be trusted to answer questions truthfully. Here are my results, with only the tiniest bit of post-production. They are shocking. If any tabloids are reading this, feel free to lift the stats and use them to your own gain. I’m sort of praying somebody does just to blow that old one out of the water, and I really did conduct these under the highest possible quality conditions. I mean, I sent our cleverest intern.
FACT: ALMOST HALF of all women surveyed (40 percent) would rather have their own SEX TAPE than the Nobel Prize*
FACT: The MAJORITY of women asked (55 percent) explicitly expressed a desire to REVEAL THEIR BREASTS live on television**
FACT: An OVERWHELMING MAJORITY of women (80 percent) are drawn to public displays of NECROPHILIA and PAEDOPHILIA***
FACT: ALMOST EVERY woman (92 percent) wants to MARRY CHRIS BROWN****
FACT: A NUMBER of women (6 percent) expressed serious concern regarding a PERSISTENT DIZZINESS which occurs alongside MENSTRUATION, and were interested in research into whether or not they should be excused from operating HEAVY MACHINERY during that period*****
FACT: HALF OF ALL women (50 percent) admitted to wearing "NO UNDERWEAR" on (at least) six days of the week******
FACT: THE VAST MAJORITY of women (80 percent) are unable to identify with themselves without EXTREME GROOMING*******
*6 out of 15 women asked would rather be Paris Hilton than Aung San Suu Kyi (who was largely unknown by the audience and currently under house arrest in Burma, but STILL).
**55 percent of women said they would appear topless on Babestation for half an hour (if they got paid £1,000,000.00. It still counts.)
***Out of 15 women asked, 12 preferred penguins to horses. Penguins have been plastered across the headlines recently for engaging in necrophilia and paedophilia (we didn't mention that during the survey, but it's like common knowledge as far as we're concerned).
****92 percent of women would (prefer to) marry Chris Brown (than Gary Glitter).
*****1 in 15 women noted dizziness during their menstrual cycle. The interest in the heavy-machinery research was predominantly (entirely) negative, but try to find the lie in the statistic. Yeah, didn't think so.
******By "underwear", we mean tights. Oh, isn't that obvious?
*******12 out of 15 women agreed that they would dye their hair – indicating serious self-confidence issues? Or something.
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As much as I'd like to leave this knowledge floating in cyberspace for some unwitting journalist to stumble upon, it actually points to a rather more serious undercurrent in the studies about young women which the press go nuts over. I emailed Sabrina Mahfouz, who made the video cited above, to ask whether finding out the 63 percent statistic was false would change her mind about Page 3 and glamour modelling.
She responded with the assertion that "skewed statistics are used in gender issues all the time", which, while being (forgive me), 100 percent accurate, also suggests that she sees stats as less a handy guide to The Truth, and more a tool of socio-cultural warfare to be wielded by an aggressor with an agenda.
And that's not something I really wanna get involved with. Just forget everything I said. Can you do that? I have like, 0.1 percent faith in you.
Follow Bertie on Twitter: @bertiebrandes