APPEARANCE SELF-ATTITUDES OF AFRICAN AMERICAN AND EUROPEAN AMERICAN WOMEN: MEDIA COMPARISONS AND INTERNALIZATION OF BEAUTY IDEALS

Authors


  • Deana L. Jefferson and Jayne E. Stake, Department of Psychology, University of Missouri–St. Louis.

  • This article was edited by Gloria Cowan.

  • We wish to acknowledge the invaluable assistance of Katherine Kern-Hartman for her work in data collection and data management.

  • This article is based in part on a doctoral dissertation by the first author.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Deana L. Jefferson, Department of Psychology, University of Missouri–St. Louis, St. Louis, MO 63121. E-mail: jeffersonde@umsl.edu

Abstract

African American (AA) women have reported less body image disturbance than European American (EA) women, but questions remain about the nature and extent of this difference. This study examined differences in the body image of 80 AA women and 89 EA women with an improved methodology that controlled for body size, distinguished between satisfaction with and importance of body features, and included nonweight (e.g., hair texture, skin color) as well as weight-related features. Results provide evidence that, in contrast to AA women, EA women (a) were more dissatisfied with both weight and specific appearance features, (b) compared themselves more often to media beauty figures and internalized Western beauty standards more, and (c) showed a significant relation between media comparisons and body dissatisfaction. Internalization of Western beauty ideals was related to body dissatisfaction in both groups of women.

Ancillary