Ugly statistics

British women tourists are the ‘ugliest in the world’ says The Express today, while its stablemate The Star goes for the even more tasteful English female tourists are ‘fat slags on tour’.

Such a controversial headline must have some real substance behind it, right? Something to excuse the blatant misogyny of the articles themselves? Let’s see.

BRITISH women have been branded the ugliest in the world in an ­international poll.

They were slated for their bad behaviour, dress sense and drinking habits when on holiday.

Many are accused of being “rude”, “drinking pints of beer like men” and “ending up drunk in the gutter”.

They also shamelessly broke wind and belched while lying around hotel pools or on beaches, according to the survey for a respected holiday website.

Which “respected holiday website” was this? Well, you’d have to dig a long way through the articles to find out, but it’s in fact a site called “Real Holiday Reports” (check out the web design, circa 1999!). Never heard of it? That’s not surprising. It has a UK Alexa ranking of 11,882 (in other words, it’s 11,882th most popular British website) – by comparison, Expedia.co.uk has a UK ranking of 132,  Lastminute has a UK ranking of 104 and Trip Advisor has a UK ranking of 86.

Still, I bet this survey was conducted in the most scientific manner possible, right? I mean, I’m sure they didn’t just stick a hastily slapped together instant poll on their front page, right?

Oh.

I’m not even going to bother pointing out that “Eastern Europe” is not a country. Nor will I bother pointing out that this has nothing to do with women tourists, but instead purportedly asks about women in general. Instead, I’ll focus on the most awful part of this – there is no text entry involved anywhere in the survey. There was nowhere that a visitor could have voted in the poll, and then given the explanation “British women drink pints of beer like men” or “British women shamelessly break wind“. These are quotes that have been invented somewhere along the line, by someone I assume with an axe to grind against a certain type of woman. In what I’m sure is a coincidence, in the past week, the Express has run the stories “UK is a ‘wasteland’ of sex-mad ladettes and gays, says churchman” and “Drunk ladettes fuel a boom in STIs“*, both stories attacking precisely the sort of person that these quotes claim are rife in Britain.

Most of the site’s visitors are British, incidentally. The site is based somewhere on Merseyside, and flies a giant clip-art Union Flag in its banner. By and large, this poll will have been voted on by British visitors – no doubt exoticism, familiarity and contempt for British women fuelled precisely by the types of article linked above all played their part. After all, apart from the UK, there is no distinguishable trend in the answers. People have just answered at random – even if there was some need to rank nations by the average attractiveness of women, this survey certainly wouldn’t solve that need.

* I should have covered this article when it first came out. While it’s true STI detection rates have risen slightly in young women, there’s no suggestion in the data that “drunk ladettes” are to blame.

Edit: This post originally contained a rather ill-advised comment about the reported demographics of the site. Quite rightly, people objected to it, and it has been removed. Sorry for causing any offence.

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  1. #1 by knightofthedropdowntable on Sunday, 5th September 2010 - 1:51 UTC

    There is pretty much nothing that has been done right on this survey, but do you really have to follow it up with a cheap stereotype? Despite being male and not having a college education, I don’t recall visiting that site or completing a poorly-designed poll, although I’m not actually 25 until next April, so maybe it’ll happen then.

  2. #2 by joeminustalent on Sunday, 5th September 2010 - 10:02 UTC

    knightofthedropdowntable is right. there’s not much point writing a good article like that complaining about the stereotypes made against young women – then making a sarcastic stereotype yourself at the end. Considering how small the website is, i imagine that it could be found and “most hit” by any demographic who finds it.

  3. #3 by atomicspin on Sunday, 5th September 2010 - 10:24 UTC

    Fair enough. I’ll take that out. Sorry for causing offence.

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