Findings Reveal Inner Conflicts: Women in 2017 Are More Optimistic About Their Life and Future, Yet 60% Use Negative Words Like “Stressed,” “Insecure,” and “Lonely” to Describe Themselves

Glamour partnered with L’Oréal Paris to commission a Harris Poll of 2,000 women in all 50 states to reveal how women really feel about themselves, their career, and their future in 2017. The results? Women are more optimistic about their life and future than in previous years, with 75 percent believing they’re making progress toward their life goals, and 67 percent believing they’ll be better off in the next five years. However, while progress is being made and priorities are shifting, many women continue to struggle with body image and self-esteem. 


“On one level, these results are encouraging: As women, we feel optimistic about our lives now and think we’re going to get where we want to go,” says Glamour editor-in-chief Cindi Leive. “But the results are, like women, complicated—they show that we still too often judge ourselves harshly, among other things. It’s also interesting to see the ways in which women of various zip codes, races, and sexualities are different, and what we all seem to share: Social media plays a big role in our daily lives, we care deeply about our financial future, are still struggling with our looks.”


For more than 30 years, Glamour’s surveys have shown that American women have consistently reported low self-confidence and negative body image. Done with L’Oréal Paris, the 2017 survey had as its goal to take an in-depth look at the factors that buoy and undermine women’s confidence—and explore the issues that connect and divide us. As part of the survey, Glamour also asked women what they believe in and how they have learned to embrace who they are.


2017 findings included:

  • Women in 2017 are more optimistic about their life and future: 75 percent believe they’re making progress toward their life goals
  • African American women report higher self-esteem than white or Latina women
  • Social media is motivating women: 74 percent of women believe social media can be a positive force in their life
  • In a shift with past years, 70 percent of women say their top priority in life is to become financially secure, but 56 percent believe they are underpaid
  • Women in rural areas are far less likely to describe themselves as beautiful: only 28 percent did, compared with 43 percent of women in urban areas


“The launch of ‘50 States of Women’ exemplifies our belief that every woman is worth it and has a story to tell,” said Anne Marie Nelson-Bogle, senior vice president for marketing with L’Oréal Paris USA. “This study gives us a deeper understanding of what makes women in America feel beautiful, confident, and optimistic about the future—and shows us what areas we need to focus on as we empower women everywhere to embrace their intrinsic worth and inner beauty.”


The survey will also be annualized, as Glamour and L’Oréal Paris continue to examine women’s self-worth and how it shifts over the years.


The “50 States of Women” survey appears in Glamour’s September issue, on national newsstands August 8. Click here to read the full story on


Glamour is also challenging women to embrace self-worth and see ourselves the way others see us. As a first step towards this goal, Glamour is asking women to accept a compliment, instead of brushing it off or giving a self-deprecating response. Join the conversation on social on August 1st with #takeacompliment.


Key findings from the Glamour and L’Oréal Paris “50 States of Women” survey are below. For the full story, visit or pick up the September issue.


  • Self-Confidence Is Finally Soaring:
    • 75 percent of women believe they’re making progress toward their life goals.
    • 67 percent of women believe they’ll be better off in the next five years (a huge jump from Glamour’s results two years ago, when only 42 percent had that outlook).


  • Fueling Self-Worth and Confidence:
    • While 73 percent of women feel that pride in their appearance contributes a moderate amount to their self-worth (71 percent among millennials), there are deeper factors that play a higher role in this feeling.
    • 93 percent say that being a mom contributes a moderate amount to their self-worth, 87 percent of women say that their intelligence gives them worth, and 86 percent credit their personalities.


  • Super-Positive Millennials:
    • Confidence may be up among women in general, but it is even higher among millennials, with 73 percent saying their life will be better off in five years. The optimism is especially pronounced for those under 25.
    • 46 percent of the younger millennials also say, “I’m proud of the person I am becoming,” higher than other generations in the survey.


  • The Confidence Gap: 
    • African American women consistently reported higher self-esteem than white or Hispanic women—they were far more likely to describe themselves as successful (44 percent said so, compared with 30 percent of white women and 21 percent of Hispanic).
    • 59 percent of African American women describe themselves as beautiful, versus just 25 percent of white women and 32 percent of Latinas.


  • Looks Are Still Important to Women:
    • Although our priorities have shifted over the decades, looks are still important to women in 2017.
      • 44 percent of women consider their appearance a key part of their identity—ranking higher than being a mom, or their job, religion, or heritage.
      • 73 percent of women say being beautiful helps women get ahead at work, and 84 percent of women say being beautiful gives them an edge in life in general.


  • Using Social Media to Empower and Inform: 
    • Women love social media (35 percent of women reported checking their social media at least once an hour) and say that it makes them feel more informed, inspired, and empowered: 
      • 74 percent of women believe social media is a positive force in their life, that it inspires and informs them, and makes them feel connected to others.
      • Three out of five women say that just the act of sharing their experiences on social media makes them feel good about themselves.
      • 66 percent have received practical tips and advice from tutorials on social media, and 54 percent have used this inspiration to create their own unique style or look.


  • Sexual Orientation and Self-Esteem:
    • Nonheterosexual women in the survey were twice as likely to describe themselves as “unhappy,” and 63 percent reported they have struggled with depression.
    • Nonheterosexual are more than twice as likely as straight women to have received unwanted sexually suggestive remarks or negative comments online.
  • The Country Girl Blues: 
    • Women in rural areas are far less likely to describe themselves as beautiful: Only 28 percent did, compared with 43 percent of women in urban areas.
    • Rural women are more likely than those in urban areas to describe themselves as insecure (30 percent versus 20 percent).
    • 55 percent of women in rural areas say they’ve experienced depression versus 48 percent in urban areas.


  • Career advancement and financial security are top priorities, but obstacles at work remain.
    • 56 percent of women believe they’re underpaid.
    • 66 percent say men get more support and opportunities to advance than they do.
    • But 70 percent say their top priority in life is to become financially secure.


About Glamour:

Glamour is one of the biggest fashion and beauty media brands in the world, currently reaching an all-time high of one out of eight American women, with 9.7 million print readers, more than 11 million unique monthly users online, and over 14 million followers across social media platforms. Glamour believes in the power of women being themselves and stands with women as they do their own thing: honestly, authentically, and awesomely. Across every platform, Glamour is the ultimate authority for the next generation of changemakers.     


About L’Oréal Paris 

The L’Oréal Paris division of L’Oréal USA, Inc. is a total beauty care brand dedicated to empowering women by offering the most luxurious and innovative products and services available in the mass market.  The brand’s signature tagline, “Because I’m Worth It,” was born in the United States in 1971 to celebrate the beauty and intrinsic self-worth of women, and for more than 100 years, L’Oréal Paris has been providing women around the world with products in four major beauty categories:  hair color, hair care, skin care, and cosmetics. With L’Oréal’s invention of hair color in 1909, the brand continues to serve as the leading innovator of hair products across color, care, and styling with brands such as Superior Preference, Féria, Excellence Crème, Advanced Haircare, the Ever Collection, Advanced Hairstyle, and Elnett Satin Hairspray. L’Oréal Paris provides scientifically advanced skin care products that are clinically proven to address individual skin concerns through its renowned brands Revitalift, Hydra Genius, Age Perfect, and Sublime Bronze.  L’Oréal Paris’ iconic cosmetics collections include Infallible, True Match, Colour Riche, Voluminous, and Visible Lift. For more information about L’Oréal Paris and to receive personalized advice, expert tips, and exclusive content , please visit or follow on Instagram (@LOrealMakeup, @LOrealHair, @LOrealSkin, @LOrealMens), Snapchat (@LOrealMakeup), Twitter (@LOrealParisUSA), Facebook (@LOrealParisUSA), and Pinterest (@LOrealParisUSA).



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