Women fed up with dull lives

More than half of women in Britain think everyday life is easier for men and are fed up of leading dull and gruelling treadmill lifestyles, a survey revealed today.

Juggling punishing work and household roles with spiralling debts, rubbish sex and social lives and the pressures of having a perfect body are blamed for triggering a lifestyle crisis in many women.

Eight out of 10 women (81%) said they wish they could change their lives, 67% feel like they are on a treadmill and are worn out, and 60% think life is easier for men, according to The Female Lifestyle Survey of Great Britain 2004.

And the experience of a mundane and tiring existence is driving women to hit the bottle and raid the fridge in an attempt to de-stress, according to the poll of 2,000 women with the average age of 38, by health magazine Top Sante.

More than half (59%) admitted to drinking alcohol and 74% confessed to comfort eating to relax and unwind from everyday life.

Marina Gask, editor of Top Sante magazine, said: "The `have it all' dream has turned into a `do it all' nightmare. Women are bombarded with lifestyle images of perfectly proportioned celebrities who seem to have everything, without much effort.

"In reality, most women struggle to look after their family and hold down a demanding job to make ends meet. Despite their hard work many are up to their necks in debt and they feel emotionally drained, financially unsuccessful and unfulfilled sexually and socially.

"In short, they are going through a lifestyle crisis and want to change their lives."

Coping with endless different roles was a major problem according to 87% of women quizzed with 62% saying their greatest obstacle to happiness is their work/life balance, 66% wanting to quit the rat-race, and 52% wanting to change their job.

Nine out of 10 women who work full-time (86%) said they still do most of the household chores and 77% said they take the lion's share of responsibility for looking after the children.

More than half the women polled (56%) said the emotion they feel most on a daily basis is frustration.

Six out of 10 (59%) blamed a poor sex life for making them miserable while a similar number (58%) cited an unfulfilling social life.

Lack of cash is another issue with eight out of 10 women (78%) saying they find life in Britain financially draining, 52% saying their finances are haphazard or out of control, 49% admitting they spend more than they earn and 55% who are saddled with credit card debts.

But one of the top causes of the female blues, according to the poll, is the quest for a perfect body.


Nine out of 10 surveyed (92%) said they are unhappy with their looks and 85% of women said they think about their size and shape every day and that their poor image spoils their enjoyment of life.

Even 80% of women who were classed as "normal weight" wish they were slimmer and feel more pressure from other women over their looks - 77% say other women rather than men are more likely to criticise them.

Three-quarters of women think their life would be better if they were happy with their body and 26% said they are prepared to go under the knife to improve their looks - 5% of women under 38 already have.

Cosmetic procedures women are most likely to have, according to the survey, are breast enlargement, breast reduction, botox injections, liposuction, tightening of the jaw line, tummy tuck, lines around the eyes and a half face lift.

Age is another thorn in women's sides with 93% of women feeling unhappy about getting older.

Celebrity role models Victoria Beckham, Jordan and Cherie Blair are the most disliked and are not helpful to ordinary women 56% said. Women most admire their mother, Madonna and Margaret Thatcher.

Hollywood star Catherine Zeta Jones was named the most beautiful women in the world in the survey. The perfect woman would have her face and breasts, the hair of former Friends star Jennifer Aniston, Kylie Minogue's bottom and Victoria Beckham's legs.

Other female headaches revealed in the poll included irritation at the cost of housing (77%), the level of violent crime (71%), the state of the NHS (60%) the long hours work culture (51%), the climate (48%), the unfriendly culture (42%), poor public transport (39%), the quality of education (37%), the sex-soaked society (33%) and status anxiety (37%).

In fact more than four in 10 women (44%) are so fed up with life in Britain they would rather live abroad. The top 10 dream boltholes were Australia, Spain, America, France, New Zealand, Canada, Italy, Greece, Portugal and Cyprus.

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