The Politics of Protection: Body Image, Social Pressures, and the Misrepresentation of Young Black Women

The Politics of Protection: Body Image, Social Pressures, and the Misrepresentation of Young... As part of a larger multi-method study, 15 Black women college students participated in focus group discussions on the body. Contrary to popular theories that propose that Black women are protected by a “Black Culture” that buffers them from negative effects of body representations—thereby leaving them with higher body esteem—the themes that emerged in the focus group discussions indicate that young Black women are indeed feeling (1) pressures to be thin, (2) pressures from the preferences of men of diverse ethnicities, (3) competition with other Black women in the realms of beauty, and (4) a strong sense of being misrepresented by media images of thin Black women. These results not only indicate that body image issues are of real pressing concern to young Black women, but that psychological research methodologies may be adding to the misrepresentation of young Black women and their struggles. Qualitative methods must be utilized in order to hear more clearly the voices of Women of Color. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Sex Roles Springer Journals

The Politics of Protection: Body Image, Social Pressures, and the Misrepresentation of Young Black Women

Sex Roles , Volume 55 (12) – Dec 1, 2006
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Publisher
Kluwer Academic Publishers-Plenum Publishers
Copyright
Copyright © 2006 by Springer Science+Business Media, LLC
Subject
Psychology; Gender Studies; Sociology, general; Medicine/Public Health, general
ISSN
0360-0025
eISSN
1573-2762
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11199-006-9129-5
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

As part of a larger multi-method study, 15 Black women college students participated in focus group discussions on the body. Contrary to popular theories that propose that Black women are protected by a “Black Culture” that buffers them from negative effects of body representations—thereby leaving them with higher body esteem—the themes that emerged in the focus group discussions indicate that young Black women are indeed feeling (1) pressures to be thin, (2) pressures from the preferences of men of diverse ethnicities, (3) competition with other Black women in the realms of beauty, and (4) a strong sense of being misrepresented by media images of thin Black women. These results not only indicate that body image issues are of real pressing concern to young Black women, but that psychological research methodologies may be adding to the misrepresentation of young Black women and their struggles. Qualitative methods must be utilized in order to hear more clearly the voices of Women of Color.

Journal

Sex RolesSpringer Journals

Published: Dec 1, 2006

References

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