Brains or beauty? Women still conflicted

Tue Mar 24, 2009 2:48pm EDT
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters Life!) - Smart or thin? Rich or ugly?

Women still have a complex and contradictory relationship with their own image according to a poll released on Tuesday that found 25 percent of those questioned would rather win the "America's Next Top Model" TV show than the Nobel Peace Prize.

And although 75 percent of women surveyed said they'd be willing to shave their heads to save the life of a stranger, more than a quarter of those taking part admitted they would make their best friend fat for life, if it meant they could be thin.

As for that age-old dilemma of whether to marry for wealth or looks, half of the 18- to 24-year-olds questioned said they would marry an ugly man if he were a multimillionaire.

The poll for U.S. television network Oxygen, which is targeted at young women, also found that 88 percent of 18- to 34-year-old women would happily give up their cell phone, jewelry and makeup to keep a friendship.

"This survey proves an interesting dissection of today's woman and how she relates her personal image with what she values in her life," said Dr. Jenn Berman, psychotherapist and judge of the upcoming new Oxygen series "Pretty Wicked."

"As shown in several results, women today are a complex combination of altruistic and materialistic, vain and insecure, loyal and self-serving. This survey highlights the dichotomy in all of us," Berman said.

More than 2,000 women aged 18-34 were interviewed for the poll.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)

<p>Model walks down runway at a fashion show during the Beijing International Fashion Week on March 28, 2005. REUTERS/Jason Lee</p>