Depictions of Caucasian women in the mainstream media have become increasingly thinner in size and straighter in shape. These changes may be inconsistent with the growing influence of African American beauty ideals, which research has established as more accepting of larger body sizes and more curvaceous body types than Caucasians. The present study looked at trends in the portrayal of African American women featured in JET magazine from 1953 to 2006. Beauty of the Week (BOW) images were collected and analyzed to examine body size (estimated by independent judges) and body shape (estimated by waist-to-hip ratio). We expected body sizes to increase and body shapes to become more curvaceous. Results revealed a rise in models' body size consistent with expectations, but an increase in waist-to-hip ratio, contrary to prediction. Our findings suggest that the African American feminine beauty ideal reflects both consistencies with and departures from mainstream cultural ideals.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Psychology
- Applied Psychology