Every-Body is Beautiful: Including Gender, Sexual Orientation, and Race in Investigations on Body Image
Although body image satisfaction has been extensively examined in straight, white women, fewer studies have covered the nuanced differences that likely exist across other demographic groups. Previously, body satisfaction, appearance-pressures from the media and family, and body respect have been shown to vary across gender, sexual orientation, and race. For instance, some studies have shown that homosexual females have higher body satisfaction compared to their homosexual male counterparts, potentially due to greater appearance-based-pressure from the media. Additionally, women of color have been shown to experience more perceived family appearance-pressure than their white counterparts. However, women of color, especially queer women of color, appear to have higher body satisfaction than their white women counterparts, supporting previous studies suggesting protective factors of high group belongingness and cultures that de-emphasize thinness in queer women of color. Interestingly, the same is not evident with queer men of color, as their body respect has shown to be significantly lower than all other demographics. This study sought to examine undergraduates’ perspectives of their bodies in personal and familial contexts, as well as how the media may influence these viewpoints. Undergraduate students in the fall of 2016 and the spring of 2017 were given an online Qualtrics questionnaire asking a series of questions related to how they viewed their body along with a set of demographic questions. The results were analyzed using a multivariate generalized linear model in SPSS, which yielded important differences across gender, race, and sexual orientation. Significant differences were observed in the variables of body image, body respect, family’s influence on body image, and the media’s influence on body image. Future studies should consider investigating whether similar trends can be observed across different age cohorts and further examine body image with the nuances of sexual orientation and gender.
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Schildwater, Julia; Gaughan, Jonathan; and Clum, Alicia, "Every-Body is Beautiful: Including Gender, Sexual Orientation, and Race in Investigations on Body Image" (2021). Research Days Posters 2021. 56.