In October 2007, we again asked local women to sound off on subjects that matter to them, from job satisfaction to raising children to religion to sex. This time, we included a ballot in the October issue and on sacmag.com, and partnered with KCRA 3 to get the word out. We received thousands of responses. Read on to find out who Sacramento-area women are and what they think.
More than 50% of the respondents are between the ages of 35 and 54, and 64 percent are married—very happily so. More than 95 percent of respondents are heterosexual, and 75 percent have children.
Living with significant other 9%
If married, how happy are you in your marriage?
Very happy 64%
Somewhat happy 27%
Somewhat unhappy 5%
What is your sexual orientation?
ON THE JOB
What is your work status?
Full-time employee 61%
Part-time employee 9%
How satisfied are you with your work?
Not at all 8%
How satisfied are you with what you earn?
Not at all 21%
Have you experienced sexual harassment on the job?
If yes, what did you do about it?
“Nothing” was by far the most common response.
“I went to Human Resources to help resolve the problem and had the individual removed from working with or around me.”—Gina Brown
“I work in the construction industry, where I am generally the only female. There is bound to be sexual harassment. But for the most part, you just deal with it because it is meaningless. I speak up if it gets too offensive and generally they don’t make that mistake again.”—Monica Fox
“I had sex with him, then got him fired. He’ll think twice before he does that again.”
“I threatened to tell his wife.”
“I was young, so I didn’t do anything. It would be different now.”
What do you like or enjoy most about your relationships with other women?
Why women love their women friends
“I love my women friends because we think alike, verbalize our concerns and work them out together. We laugh and cry and hug and support each other.”—Kristin LeMeur
“It’s equal with compassion and empathy. Throw in some humor and it’s a party!”—Kim Palaferri
“We golf together without forming cliques.”—Judy Wahl
“Not only sharing, but a sense of sisterhood and extended family. I also admire the strength of my women friends—not in a physical sense, but their strength in dealing with life situations.”
“Understanding and problem-solving abilities, as well as just female companionship with no sexual tension or expectations of sex just because you go out for lunch and a movie.”
“Ability to get away from it all, talk about anything and everything, and share a few laughs and a glass of wine.”
What bothers you most about other women?
Likelihood to gossip 17%
What else bugs women about women?
Drama, dishonesty, complaining, obsession with appearance, talking too much, materialism, girliness, lack of femininity
“Playing dumb or helpless, perpetuating stereotypes.”—Kathleen Walsh
“One minute they pretend to be your friend and then the next they’re talking crap about you.”—Shannon Sweatfield, 28, Woodland
“We are too hormonally driven and sometimes justify ‘crankiness’ by claiming PMS. We can control ourselves if we want.”—Sharlene Dawley
“So many are afraid to speak up, own their feelings or be creative in their lives.”—Edith Gregersen
“Bashing their husbands.”—Barbara Gisler
“When they still act the way they did in high school, especially mothers who are setting a bad example.”
“Victims. They need to pull up their big-girl panties.”
“Sometimes all they talk about is home and kids and diets—the guys are often more interesting.”
“Ignoring female friends when they have a boyfriend and coming back only when they have been dumped by him.”
What do you like or enjoy most about men?
Strength 29% (We should have asked: emotional or physical)
Women also love men for . . .
Intellect, humor, honesty, maleness, self-assurance, height, simplicity, companionship, noncattiness, handiness, energy, eagerness to protect
“They usually approach matters calmly and less like it’s an emergency or superurgent.”—Mai Do
Their easygoing sense of humor. My husband’s friends are some of the funniest people I know!”—Lauren Kiesz
“They usually live in a bigger world [than women] and are more interesting to talk with.”
“Intelligence, which leads to interesting conversations that can be sexually arousing.”
“Men I admire are not afraid to show their feminine side, love and respect the women in their lives, and do not tell stupid sexist jokes.”
“I enjoy my husband’s sense of humor and his ability to just make me feel better with one word or look.”
What bothers you most about men?
What else bugs women about men?
Control issues, selfishness, inability to commit, sex drive/constant need for sex, inability to talk about things, pride, inability to multitask
“Having to repeat myself all the time.”—Betty-Ann Sloan
“Extreme competitiveness to the point of detracting from the man’s actual goals.”
“They’re like puppies and I’m sick of training them.”
“Testosterone substituting for judgment.”
“Not taking a more active role in the raising and teaching of their children.”
“Their need to be the most successful in the household.”
What do you think bothers men most about women?
Not enough interest in sex 18%
Talk too much 9%
Feminist attitude, gold diggers, dishonesty, materialism, trying to be like men, wanting commitment, whining, clinginess, overspending
“Men don’t like to be subtly nagged. Tell them what you want them to do, be clear, and be decisive! Don’t let them try to figure it out themselves.”—Danielle Marquart
“We expect them to think like us.”—Marci Seither
“We aren’t willing to be their mothers, much as they would like us to be.”—Liz Gibson
“Strength. Men don’t appear to like strong, intelligent women, even in this day and age.”
“Most women are so preoccupied with other things and themselves that they fail to realize the men in their lives need attention and won’t always ask for it. Women need to open their eyes and realize that men want a woman to acknowledge them.”
“My husband gets upset if I am not having sex every other night.”“All of us aren’t 25, 5 feet 10 inches, with a man’s backside.”
What do you and your significant other fight about the most?
We don’t fight 28% (Oh, come on!)
Spending time together 13%
Exes, safety, household chores, balancing relationship needs, trust, lack of sensitivity, amount of overtime work, power struggles, alcohol, yardwork, answering cell phone
“Him not wearing his hearing aid and always saying ‘what?’ or ‘huh?’”—Sandee Wall
“His critical attitude toward how I do things—always a better way to do something—his way.”—Debbie Nelson
“I can’t read his mind and that irritates him.”
“Not being ‘heard.’”
Who is more romantic?
My significant other 22%
We’re about the same 42%
Are you satisfied with your sex life?
More than 30% of respondents weren’t satisfied with their sex lives.
Somewhat satisfied 37%
Not really satisfied 18%
If you have a significant other, have you ever had an affair?
Almost 20% of respondents have had at least one affair.
More than once 7%
If yes, was it worth it?
Answers were pretty evenly split, yes and no.
“Absolutely not! The guilt you truly never overcome.”
“Only because it helped me realize what was wrong with the relationship.”
“No, it was the most destructive, painful thing I have ever done to myself, spouse and children.”
“No. He gave me herpes.“
“Yes. He had many before I ever considered it.”
“Yes. He was there and showed me the woman I really was and helped me understand that I was more than a mother and wife.”
“No, it required too much energy and there is no happy ending.”
“Yes, it was in my past relationship, and it helped create who I am today, a confident happy woman.”
“Not worth it at all. If I could take one thing back in my life, it would without a doubt be that. It caused too much hurt to too many people.”
“Yes. It actually made my relationship with my husband stronger.”
Would you consider having an affair?
If your significant other had an affair, would it be a deal-breaker?
If maybe, it would depend on . . .
“ . . . what was going on between us. If I wasn’t giving him attention or concern, I could possibly understand him having an affair.”
“ . . . whether he was emotionally involved with the other woman or if it was just sex.”
“ . . . whether or not we had children.”
“ . . . whether he told me right away and whether it was a one-night stand.”
“ . . . the circumstances leading up to it and whether or not it was over.”
“ . . . the degree of the affair. If he loves her, then I’d let him go. If it was a simple fling, then we could probably work it out. The biggest issue isn’t the sex with someone else; it’s the dishonesty that goes with an affair. I never regained my trust in my first husband after his affair.”
Would you ever lie to your significant other about your spending?
Would he ever lie to you about his spending?
If you live with someone else, do you feel that the division of labor in your household is fair?
What women say
“I think his expectations of me as a wife are to take care of the household chores, without any considerations that I, too, work outside the home.”—Lori Miles
“We are good at different types of labor/chores. He’s a good cook, technical guy. I do most of the cleaning and yardwork.”—Sue Lorimer
“He does way more than me.”
YOUR HEALTH AND BODY
What is your No. 1 health concern?
Heart attack or stroke 23%
Chronic pain 9%
Sexual function 1%
Hearing Less than 1%
Women also are worried about
The No.1 write-in answer: Weight
Also, hypertension, chronic fatigue syndrome, sagging breasts and wrinkles, effects of menopause, stress, Alzheimer’s disease, lupus, arthritis, asthma, anxiety, digestive issues
“Celiac disease and finding places that can understand its seriousness.”
“All of the above. Every day, all of the above are thrown at you on TV, radio, Internet, newspaper, magazines. It makes it stay in the back of your mind.”
“Weight and nutrition. I feel that many of these things on this list can be avoided if you are healthy and eat right from the start.”
“Not being healthy enough to enjoy my later years.”
Are you content with your body/weight?
How discontented are you?
How many days per week do you exercise?
Have you had cosmetic surgery?
Top 3 reasons respondents haven’t had cosmetic surgery
• Too expensive/can’t afford it
• Don’t believe in it
• Waiting to lose weight
“Concerns about long-term health impact; plastic surgery conflicts (a bit) with my feminist ideals; cost.”—Diana Watkins, 29, Rocklin
“I will gracefully accept the way my body ages.”—Debbie Nelson
“I would like to but will not put my body through that.”
“My grandma always said, ‘Don’t get cut on unless you have to.’ I believe that.”
If you could, what cosmetic procedure would you have?
Tummy tuck 25%
Breast augmentation 13%
Eye job 9%
Nose job 3%
Top 3 “other” procedures named
• Breast reduction
• Skin resurfacing
• Cosmetic dentistry
Do you practice a religion or maintain a spiritual belief?
How often do you drink alcohol?
Would you/did you tell your children whether you’ve had premarital sex?
Would you tell your children if you’ve used illegal drugs?
If your teenage, unwed daughter became pregnant, what would you advise her to do?
Raise the baby herself, perhaps with the father 24%
Have an abortion 20%
Give baby up for adoption 14%
Allow me to raise the baby 6%
(Of these respondents, most of them said they would support their daughters in making their own decisions.)
Do you own a gun?
If you were being attacked and had a gun, would you shoot to kill?
Do you feel you are saving adequately for retirement?
What concerns you most about aging?
Ability to live independently 18%
Are you caring for aging parents?
Number of children
4 or more 9%
Do you feel that women with young children should work full-time outside the home?
What women say
“I work full time and it seems like my ‘work’ day is 15–16 hours long. My job is over in eight, but then my home job takes the rest of the day/evening.”—Annika Hadler
“It is the responsibility of the parents to take care of the child, especially ages 0–3. This is the time that they are shaped and form ideas based on what we teach them. Therefore, if someone else is taking care of them, they take on the ideas and morals of the caregiver and not the parents.”—Lori Miles
“Women young enough to have children should be able to make that choice; however, sadly, they don’t have that choice because in today’s society most young women have to work.”—Jamie Meyer
“Nowadays it’s the only way you can pay for your house, car and the gas to run it, plus the food so you can eat.”—Barbara Eversult
“First priority should be family, not money . . . and, yes, it can be done despite the excuses people make.”
“Kids don’t even remember day care years later.”
“It is a critical time for young children and I feel that our economy has gone south since women have been working outside the home. Values went there, too.”
“If that is their choice, I think doing what is right for them will only make them a better mom.”
If you have children, what kind of school do they attend?
Home school 3%
Do you monitor your children’s activity on the Internet?
If so, how?
“Computer history and special programs that allow you to visit the pages children visit. Computer is in a common room, not bedroom, and chat rooms are blocked. I have a password to e-mail account and block social sites.”—Kathleen Daugherty
“Security blocks and frequent history checks.”—Betty Ford
“They must use the computer where we can watch them.”
“Checking their e-mails remotely, browsing their cookies.”
“Parental controls, watching while they use it, checking computer logs when they are not home.”
“They are in the room with me. Approved sites are in the favorites on the browser.”
What is your political affiliation?
Natural Law Less than 1%
Green Less than 1%
Do you vote?
Are you in favor of increasing immigration restrictions?
What do you feel is our most important regional concern? (Listed in order of importance
rated by respondents—from most important to least important.)
1. Quality of education (23%)
2. Traffic congestion (22%)
3. Cost of living (20%)
4. Crime (19%)
5. Air quality (16%)
Do you believe global warming is a serious concern?
Are taxes too high or too low?
Too high 69%
Too low 2%
About right 29%
Are you in favor of government-funded health care?
(We must point out: Almost 70 percent also feel that taxes already are too high.)
What was the greatest experience of your life so far?
1. Raising children/childbirth
2. Getting married/wedding day
3. Earning college degree
“Diving with the humpback whales and their babies in Tonga—watching them watch me, and singing all the while.”—Martha Wong, 39, Sacramento
“The greatest experience of my life was going through a very traumatic time. Out of those years, I have learned not to judge people, to pause, to be patient and to be grateful that I was given a lifetime on this earth.”—Jamie Meyer
“Each and every day when I sit up in bed and put my feet on the floor.”—Gen Wiesemann
“Participating in a group that represented the state of California at the White House for the Bicentennial.”—Sandra Leahy, 50, Orangevale
What was the worst experience of your life so far?
1. Death of people (parents, children, spouses)
2. Death of pets
“Experiencing my father’s incarceration at age 67, knowing he was innocent; then watching him die.”—Jamie Meyer
“Being shot and tied up.”—Janet Dawson
“Marrying those other two guys first.”—Linda Cox
“Giving up a baby at birth.”
“Wasting so much time in my 20s and 30s.”
If you could change one thing in your life, what would it be?
1. Financial status
3. Place of residence
“I would be a stay-at-home mother.”
“People in my past.”
“My son would still be alive.”
“Live closer to work.”
“Getting pregnant at a young age.”
“I’d love to do the same job in fewer hours for more money.”
What makes you laugh?
So many answers! Here are a few that came up again and again: Life, goofiness, self-deprecation, talking animals, kids, friends, husbands, movies, British humor, farts, George W. Bush, dogs, cats
What women say
“Talking about the old days with childhood friends.”—Cynthia Cooksey
“My two golden retrievers.”—Mindy Lendall
“My husband being able to wiggle his ears. It’s really cute.”
“My high school students.”
What would you love to be good at?
Among many, many responses, the top 3 responses:
• Handling money
• Playing a musical instrument
What causes you the most stress?
What women say
“Children being sick and [my] having to work.”—Lynda Moore
“Not getting all the daily mundane ‘stuff’ done.”—Joanne Miyao
“When people at work goof off and leave me to handle their mistakes.”
“The self-centeredness of most of the population and lack of concern for their fellow man.”
“My husband coming home from business trips in a bad mood.”
“Not owning my own home.”
What passion do you pursue in your spare time?
Responses were all over the map. Here are a few:
Salsa dancing, poker, snow skiing, arm wrestling, cooking, reading, gardening, golf, travel, kickboxing, bingo, sex, volunteer work, sewing, remodeling, riding horses, watching television, bowling, cycling, camping, learning to love myself, photography, boating, scrapbooking, triathlons, dining out, stained glass, genealogy, computer games
“My passions are on the back burner until my kids get older.”—Pamela McCoin
“I love to be active and live for the winter to get out on my snowboard and feel the freedom of going downhill. You feel like you are flying.”—Melissa Mangum
“That’s where I’m stuck. What is my passion?”