Monday, 23 August 2010
Culture and Dieting
Women with eating disorders are not alone in having body image problems. In Western Cultures, many women learn to see themselves as "objects" that are evaluated by others.
As a result, they try to shape their bodies to the cultural ideal of slimness through dieting (Fredrickson et al., 1998).
Just looking at a fashion magazine tends to leave women less satisfied with their weight and anxious to be thinner (Simpson, 2002).
However, women from some cultural background appear to be less susceptible to the glorification of slimness.
For example, African and Pacific-Islander communities have a general preference for a fuller and shapelier figure. In these groups a larger body size is associated with high social status, health, and beauty (Flynn & Fitzgibbon, 1998; Ofosu, Lafreniere, & Senn, 1998).
Clearly, what constitutes an attractive body style is a matter of opinion!