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Maybe it's time to reflect on the ugly side of vanity

MIRROR, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?

Not the woman looking, apparently. Just one in eight of us consider ourselves attractive, says a new survey.

But isn't vanity one of the most unattractive traits around?

The 'if I was an ice cream, I'd lick myself' brigade, with Angelina Jolie (left) and Posh Spice, the poster women of this particularly unappealing global set.

Or the Samantha Brick (right) syndrome; the woman who became an internet and television sensation recently after she penned the 'women hate me because I'm beautiful' piece for the Daily Mail. I'm not about to go all Mean Girls and say she's not; that's not the point.

But the fact that she feels that it's okay to mouth off about how beautiful they are, is exceedingly narcissistic and conceited and may be right off the mark.

The curvier, Rubenesque woman was the epitome of beauty in the Middle Ages; they'd baulk at today's skinny minnies.

I'm not suggesting that we should all go about, head bowed, not feeling good about ourselves, but linking self-esteem and happiness to looks isn't exactly the message we should be giving to girls.

How about achievements in sport or in education being considered attractive?

The survey found one in four women was unable to remember when she last had a compliment that made her feel beautiful.

But what about the compliments for managing a project really well in work?

Or getting a first in your Masters thesis?

Aren't they equally or even more valid? I guess those who like being complimented on their looks live by the mantra that 'beauty may only be skin deep but ugly goes right to the bone'.