Age before beauty: An exploration of body image in African-American and Caucasian adult women.

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Diane L. Gill, Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: Research on body image emphasizes risks for eating disorders and typically involves young, Caucasian women. Few studies examine body image beyond the college years and there appears to be a disregard for the mature woman, as if self-acceptance of one's body is part of the aging process. Historically, it has been assumed that race is a protective factor against body dissatisfaction due to the perceived larger body ideal for women of color. Drawing upon interviews with Caucasian and African-American women from 20 to 80 years of age, this article explores body image across the lifespan. This analysis revealed that African-American and Caucasian women of all ages engage in private self-monitoring of their bodies and use strategies such as exercise, controlling food intake and cosmetic surgery to try and change the shape of their bodies. Therefore, it is evident that women across age and race categories are vulnerable to body dissatisfaction and disordered eating behaviors. Regardless of race, even mature women recognize and respond to societal expectations of beauty and femininity.

Additional Information

Journal of Gender Studies, 17(4), 321-330
Language: English
Date: 2008
body image, lifespan, multicultural, women, age, ethnicity, gender studies

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