Camille R. Kraeplin, Southern Methodist University
Minority Females & the Thin Ideal: Ethnic versus Mainstream Fashion Magazines and Their Effects on Acculturation & Body Image in Young Black & Latino Women
Studies have linked thin-ideal imagery in popular media to eating pathologies and related disorders. Although these disorders have long been associated with middle- and upper-class white women, racial or ethnic status may no longer confer a protective benefit, in part because the dominant white society’s cultural values, as conveyed through mainstream media, reach all ethnic groups. This survey of 106 young African American and 102 young Latino women supports the conclusion that Latinas identify more closely with mediated thin-ideal imagery, while black respondents appear more satisfied with their body image. Acculturation theory suggests that ethnic minority individuals who maintain links, including ethnic-media use, to their culture of origin will be less acculturated to the norms and values of dominant white society. Three-quarters of Latinas read a mainstream fashion/beauty magazine regularly, while half of African-Americans read ethnic magazines published for the black community.