Women Are Cancelling Christmas Plans Due To Low Self-Esteem And Body Image Concerns

04/12/2015 15:19 GMT | Updated 04/12/2015 15:59 GMT

British women are cancelling plans over Christmas due to body image concerns and low self-esteem.

A survey of more than 2,000 women found that three quarters have chosen not to attend a social gathering that they have previously agreed to go to in the past.

The most common reason for cancelling last minute was that they were having a "fat day", closely followed by them feeling that they couldn't find a suitable outfit.

However, few have admitted these stresses to friends over the holiday season with the majority lying about their reasons for cancelling plans.

christmas woman sad

The survey, conducted by the team at vouchercloud.com, quizzed women about their plans for the party season and how they prepare for them.

Initially all respondents were asked whether or not they have more social events in their calendar over the Christmas period.

Unsurprisingly, the majority (64%) said "yes".

The women were then asked how they felt about the busy schedule and the researchers recorded a rather mixed response.

Although 29% said a full calendar gets them in the holiday spirit, 28% argued that there is too much pressure to go to events in December.

All respondents were then asked whether they have ever turned down an invitation to an event that they were really able to go to.

Almost three quarters (73%) admitted that they had, with body image concerns topping the list of reasons for cancelling.

When asked why they had chosen to stay at home, the top five responses were as follows:

1. I was having a ‘fat day’- 51%

2. I couldn’t find an outfit to wear - 49%

3. I didn’t have enough time to get ready - 35%

4. I wanted to stay home and watch TV - 29%

5. I was having troubles with my relationship - 12%

A total of 60% of respondents admitted the have lied in the past about why they were unable to make an event.

Rivkie Baum, editor of plus size magazine SLiNK says while she's saddened by the results of the survey, she's not remotely surprised by them.

"Just as women are pressurised in the summer months to get 'beach body ready' the Christmas run up is filled with the same anxiety and social pressure to 'drop a dress size' in time for Christmas," she tells HuffPost UK Lifestyle.

"Female orientated media is particular notable in these type of features and the idea that this is a time of year when women are most 'on show' to family and friends adds an extra and unnecessary pressure to proceedings."

Leyah Shanks, founder of Body Confidence Revolution agrees that the media is largely to blame for women's lack of self-esteem.

"This is my favourite time of year personally but I hate how contradictory the marketing messaging is. One one hand we're told that we need to be able to fit into our party dresses and on the other hand we're practically being force fed all kinds of treats," she tells us.

"From the outside it appears to be an interpersonal vicious cycle but it's actually a very clever/evil/sadistic ploy by many big companies who like to profit from insecurity.

"For me, that's the worst thing about the festive period. No one should be tricked into hating their body. It's beautiful exactly as it is, right now, at whatever stage you are at in your life."

Baum adds: "It is time we remembered and adhered to the true meaning of Christmas."

We couldn't agree more.

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