Rap Music Videos and African American Women's Body Image: The Moderating Role of Ethnic Identity


Yuanyuan Zhang; e-mail: zhang26@illinois.edu


The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between exposure to thin ideals in Black-oriented programming and young Black women's body image disturbance, specifically addressing the moderating role of ethnic identity. Items gauging exposure to 30 rap music videos with different body size ratings were used to measure exposure to thin-ideal images among a sample of 111 Black female undergraduate students. Findings show that there was no main effect of exposure to thin-ideal rap videos on Black women's body image disturbance. Instead, the impact of media exposure was shaped by viewers' strength of ethnic identity. For Black women with stronger ethnic identity, viewing thin-ideal rap videos was related to less body dissatisfaction, less drive for thinness, and lower bulimia action tendencies. For Black women with weaker ethnic identity, reverse results were observed. The implications of these findings are discussed.