Sample Essay

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This essay is an analysis of a peer reviewed article: Who’s that girl: Television’s role in the body image development of young white and black women. To research for the psychology article I looked through academic databases with peer reviewed articles. My subject of interest was eating disorders and how the media affects women in reinforcing a stereotypical body image. Although I wanted to find an article that focused on this issue from a broad perspective I came across an article that incorporated the role of race along with the media’s portrayal of a particular body image.

The article starts of with presenting evidence that the majority of mainstream media “is almost exclusively White.” (cited in Schooler, Ward, Merriwether & Caruther, 2004, p. 39) The question that arises from this notion is that if white media sets the standards for body image for both black and white women does it mean that black women have a higher risk of “developing body image disturbances related to TV viewing.” (Schooler, Ward, Merriwether & Caruther, 2004, p. 39) Although this might be the assumed explanation black women actually have fewer body image disturbances compared to White women. Therefore the main question of the articles arises: “How are Black women, who view more television and diverge more from its mainstream beauty ideal than do White women, resisting the potential risks of media exposure? (Schooler, Ward, Merriwether & Caruther, 2004, p. 39) The contributors of this research conducted tests in three introductions to psychology classes and calculated the results as a comparison amongst black females and white females. The study proved that black women have a more positive body image than white women. The reason that explained the result was through the social comparison theory. Black women looked up to other black women as role models and viewed them as inspirational icons rather than competitors who might negatively affect their body image while the vice versa was true with white females.

This article contributes to one of the few researches regarding race in the role of media on eating disorders and sheds important light on some psychological theories. The social comparison theory explains why certain women might feel dissatisfied with their self images. Analyzing the article it is apparent that black women look to other black women in the media for inspiration because psychologically it is kind of like an unspoken sisterhood. Since black women have been portrayed in the media very less and only recently there has been a significant rise in the appearance of the big and small screen they represent the black community and its idea of beauty. Future researches, however have to be established:

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