Body Image Perceptions between African-American and Kenyan Women
King-Pleas, Brittany B.
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Self-perceptions about body image affect the lives of women and how they view themselves and treat their bodies. Negative body image can affect eating habits and cause low self-esteem or depression. Many studies about body image among African-American women are often in comparison to the experiences of White women. While recognition of the differences in experiences among women of color is important, it is vital to continue to use new lens’ to understand the variety of experiences. This study examines the stories of women of color and investigates how perceptions and attitudes about the body compare and contrast within African- American and Kenyan cultures. Six African-American women from Kalamazoo College and six Kenyan women from the University of Nairobi were asked questions concerning general thoughts about the body including treatment of the body along with external and internal influences. Four themes help to illustrate some of the similarities and differences in the experiences of African-American and Kenyan women: positive versus negative descriptor words, overall acceptance of the body, the influence of external factors and overeating/binging.