Black women's body image: An analysis of culture-specific influences

Karia Kelch-Oliver, Julie R. Ancis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


A review of the literature on racial differences in body image in Black and White women indicates body image dissatisfaction is more common in White females than Black females. However, Black women are not protected from body image issues. Research on body image concerns specifically related to Black women is limited. The present study involves focus group and individual interviews conducted with 16 Black women. Data were analyzed using qualitative methodology. Results indicate 6 major themes, with shapely and curvaceous ideal body image standards within the Black community as the most prevalent theme across data sources. Therapeutic implications emphasize recognition of culturespecific ideal standards of beauty, as well as the influence of external factors such as men, family, peers, and media on Black women's self-evaluations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)345-358
Number of pages14
JournalWomen and Therapy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2011
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gender Studies
  • General Psychology


  • Black women
  • Body image
  • Feminist therapy
  • Physical attractiveness
  • Qualitative research


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