Media, ethnicity and body image dissatisfaction

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Okodogbe, Theresa
Issue Date
BA (Hons) in Social Science
Dublin Business School
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The pervasiveness of media and its ideals appears to be dominating and spreading to all cultural milieus. The media has been found to be the most powerful and pervasive conveyor of sociocultural values regarding ideal body, size and shape; which has been linked to body image dissatisfaction and other mental health related concerns such as depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and eating disorder that disproportionately affects women. The prevailing view in psychological and other literature is that White women experience greater body image dissatisfaction than Black women. The present study investigated ethnic difference in levels of body image concern using 200 undergraduates, 100 Nigerian women (Black) and 100 Irish women (White), above the ages of 18 years. A quantitative non-experimental correlational design was used. Participants completed a questionnaire booklet containing three different questionnaires such as Rosenberg self-esteem, trait self-objectification questionnaire and media influence scale questionnaire. The results revealed that there is ethnic difference in the levels of media internalization and related appearance concerns and that Black women could also be affected by body image related concerns; even if they are somewhat protected, they could not be so immune to the bombardment of sociocultural messages regarding appearance disseminated by the media and peers. KEY WORDS: media, ethnicity, body image dissatisfaction, body image concern, internalization, self-objectification, self-esteem, eating disorder, thin ideal, Western values, cultural values