Western Media and Body Image Dissatisfaction in Young Women in Developing Nations

1Georgia State University, USA,
2Pensylvania State University, USA,
3University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
DOI: 10.14689/ejer.2020.90.3


Purpose: This review systematically analyzed BID among young women of developing nations after these women’s consumption of Western media. We explored changes in women’s exposure to Western media alongside changes in body image dissatisfaction and eating disorders. Reoccurring themes of internalization across populations of women are discussed.

Method: Multiple databases were used in our search for relevant research which included information on body image dissatisfaction, eating disorders, Western media, and the experiences of young women. Ultimately, given the extant research and specific interests of the current study, body image dissatisfaction was explored within the following ten nations: Turkey, India, China, South Africa, Belize, Zimbabwe, Malaysia, Iran, Oman, and Fiji.

Results: Many of the identified research studies included secondary and post-secondary students as their sample. Results lend further support for the association between Western media and body image dissatisfaction and eating disorders across cultures and developing nations. Internalizing thin ideals into a woman’s current cultural beauty schema, her amount of exposure, and her socioeconomic status emerged as important predictors of body image dissatisfaction.

Implications for Research and Practice: Results of the current study suggest that young women of developing nations may associate the thin ideals portrayed in Western media with financial success. This association warrants further exploration and could inform more culturally sensitive interventions. An attempt to understand the importance of cultural differences and similarities would be a progressive step in identifying appropriate mechanisms on which interventions might act to prevent internalizing harmful aspects of the beauty ideals presented in Western media.

Keywords: Secondary and post-secondary students, thinness, eating disorders, television, images, dieting, international