According to a study on Women24, black women are more likely to boast a positive body image compared to other races.
Other aspects besides race that can influence body image include history of abuse and attitudes toward food. As part of Women 24’s She Says Female Nation Survey we asked women how they felt about their bodies.
Spoiler alert: using food and alcohol to wind down will have a negative impact on how you feel about your body, so when you are feeling stressed rather reach for those running shoes than that glass of chardonnay.
Does your race influence how you feel about your body?
There is a strong relationship between race and body image. When we asked women to rate how they feel about their bodies on a scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is very positive, 3 is neutral and 5 is very negative the population group with the highest percentage of women who identified with ‘very positive’ was black women. In fact, nearly one in three black women said they feel very positive about their bodies.
This number is four times higher than the group with the lowest incidence of very positive feelings: white women (only 1 in 12 chose this option). Coloured and Indian women fell somewhere in between with 1 in 6 coloured women choosing that option and 1 in 5 Indian women feeling very positive.
Only 33% of white women said they were happy with the way they looked.
This phenomenon was echoed in our questions about plastic surgery. When we asked women whether they would consider plastic surgery, one of the options was: No, I am happy with the way I look. 54% of black women chose this option, compared to the overall average of 46%.
Once again white women were the demographic with the lowest positive percentage. Only 33% of white women said they were happy with the way they looked.
When asked about this phenomenon, W24 editor Zanele Kumalo says: ‘It is really fascinating to see how differently women view their bodies according to race.
Interestingly, women with a very positive body image were more likely to have lost their virginity between the ages of 19 and 25.
I wonder whether drives towards embracing a more positive body image like the natural hair movement and #blackgirlsrock #melaninmagic #thickness etc. have had an impact on black women’s psyches.’
We can only hope these positive attitudes will in time filter down to other population groups too.