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Try out PMC Labs and tell us what you think. Learn More. As expected, there was a trend for African-American men to choose ideal figures with a lower waist-to-hip ratio WHRwhich is associated with a more curvaceous figure. Contrary to expectations, however, African-American men did not choose heavier female figures as ideal. In fact, both groups chose underweight and normal weight figures as ideal. The from this study suggest that while preferences for WHR may continue to be associated with cultural factors, African-American and Caucasian men may have become more similar than different in their preferences for female weight.
Also, the suggest that within the African-American sample, there were two subsamples with regard to WHR preferences, with one subgroup endorsing the same ideal WHR as their Caucasian counterparts. The are discussed in terms of possible changes to cultural values that may be reflected in a change in what is considered attractive. Similarly, Striegel-Moore and Cachelin concluded that the rates of eating disorders in ethnic minority women are underreported due to the lack of participation of ethnic minority women in treatment studies.
Research exploring differences between African-American and Caucasian male preferences for female body size over the past two decades has generally found African-American men to be more accepting of larger body sizes for women than Caucasian men e. For example, Thompson et al. They found that African-American males preferred a larger female size than Caucasian males.
Furthermore, when subjects without girlfriends were asked to estimate the height and weight they would desire for a girlfriend, the calculated Body Mass Index BMI was ificantly different between ethnicities, with African-American males desiring a BMI in the appropriate weight category for 15 year old females and Caucasian males desiring a BMI value that fell into the underweight category Thompson et al. Thompson et al. Additionally, their African-American male participants selected as ideal female figures that were larger than those chosen by African-American females of similar age in other studies Kemper et al.
One limitation of this study lies in the failure of investigators to assess what participants believed members of the other ethnic group would select as ideal. This limitation is addressed in the current study. Other studies have identified body shape, or waist-to-hip ratio, as an important feature of female attractiveness for which Caucasian and African-American men may have different preferences.
Low WHR, typically defined as. They found that in addition to being more accepting of larger body sizes for women, African-American men preferred a WHR that was lower than the WHR preferred by Caucasian men. However, not all studies have supported these conclusions. Although Singh abc found that African-American men did not prefer heavier women, the range of WHRs presented to participants was restricted. Additionally, participants were only presented with figures that were Caucasian in appearance.
Several studies have suggested that African-American women who ascribe to the values of mainstream Caucasian culture are more at risk for eating disorders and maladaptive eating habits Abrams et al. Abrams and colleaguesfor example, demonstrated that African-American women who embrace Caucasian culture also endorse eating disorder-related attitudes.
Furthermore, scores on the pre-encounter subscale of the Racial Identity Attitudes Scale Helms,a measure of stage of racial identity, were ificantly positively correlated with measures of eating pathology including Restrain, Fear of Fat, and Drive for Thinness subscales. It should be noted African-Americans in the pre-encounter stage of identity development typically exhibit a desire to be more like Caucasians culturally. As such, they may behave in a manner consistent with Caucasian culture and believe more in traditionally Caucasian values e.
Therefore, it is not surprising that such African-Americans would also adhere to Caucasian attitudes regarding eating and beauty. Conversely, it would seem likely, then, that African-American men who ascribe to pro-Black viewpoints and who are less acculturated will select heavier ideal figures due to a rejection of Caucasian culture, however this has not been successfully investigated to date. This awareness may or may not influence his own preferences and ideals of beauty. Greater acceptance of a variety of body sizes and shapes and even idealization of heavier body sizes seem to be factors that serve to buffer African-American women from restrictive eating and body image pathology Cunningham et al.
The role of cultural variants, however, becomes even more complex, when the prevalence of inter-racial relationships is considered. Level of acculturation may also differentially affect the ideal figure chosen by those African-Americans who are and are not willing to date women outside of their own racial group. In addition, African-American men associated fewer unfavorable characteristics and more favorable characteristics with obese same-race females than did Caucasian males.
In doing so, this study attempted to clarify whether men Black male looking white women differential standards to African-American and Caucasian Black male looking white women, in terms of overall body weight and waist-to-hip ratio. Three primary hypotheses were put forth. First, African-American men were expected to prefer a heavier body size and a lower WHR than their Caucasian counterparts. Furthermore, African-American men who were more acculturated to Caucasian culture were expected to show preferences more aligned with those of Caucasian men.
Second, men who date inter-racially were expected to hold all women to standards of beauty similar to those of their ethnic group. That is, Caucasian men who date inter-racially would choose women with thinner, more tubular figures as ideal for both groups, while African-American men who date inter-racially would choose heavier, more curvaceous figures as ideal for both groups. Third, when asked about their beliefs Black male looking white women the preferences of the other ethnic group, participants were expected to cite an ideal female figure that aligned with cultural stereotypes for the other ethnic group.
For example, African-American men were expected to report that Caucasian men prefer a thin, tubular figure. Conversely, Caucasian men were expected to report that African-American men prefer a heavier, curvaceous figure. The participants were non-Hispanic males 50 Caucasian; 50 African-American between 18 and 58 years of age.
Participants were recruited from the Washington, DC and surrounding communities through flyers and newspaper advertisements. All participants self-identified their ethnic group membership. The demographic information form assessed age, ethnicity, current height and weight, marital status, employment, and level of education.
The cut-off scores that were used were the ones advocated by Hollingshead in press. Participants were asked questions about their current and past romantic and sexual relationships in order to assess whether or not they had flexible dating practices with regard to ethnicity. In addition, if participants did not date individuals of ethnic and racial groups other than their own, they were asked to respond in an open-ended fashion about their reasons for not doing so.
The total score is computed by summing across the 33 items and can range from 33— with lower scores indicating greater acculturation to Caucasian culture. Body weight and height were self-reported by participants. The silhouette stimuli used were based on those used by Freedman et al. In the Freedman et al. The original stimuli varied along 3 levels of body weight underweight, normal weight, and overweight and four levels of WHR. This range of WHRs encompasses some of the types of figures that occur in the general population, but does not for females with very curvaceous figures WHRs in the.
The revised Singh stimuli used in the Freedman et al.
These weighthowever, were not representative of actual women, and were skewed toward the lower end of the Body Mass Index scale. Specifically, the heaviest silhouette depicted a Similarly, The present study developed new figures, based upon the original Singh a figures and the Freedman et al. The WHR modifications made by Freedman et al. The two major modifications included the addition of heavier silhouettes and shading of the figures to represent African-American and Caucasian women.
These figures are depicted in Figs. Four new weight were introduced to replace the former, skewed weight. The Singh line drawn figures were shaded and colored by a graphic artist to represent African-American and Caucasian figures. The hairstyle of the figures is similar. Facial features were not added. Aside from shading, the figure sets Black male looking white women identical. The purpose of this addition was to clarify any differential standards of beauty that men apply to women of the two racial groups. The two sets of figures displayed identical weight and WHR levels.
Participants were recruited to participate in a study examining dating preferences. Participants were first asked to complete the packet of self-report measures. Each set of figures was shown to each participant. African-American participants were shown the African-American figures first while the Caucasian participants were shown the Caucasian figures first.
There are no right or wrong answers. Please look at all figures and select just one. Following completion of the study, all participants were debriefed. Group differences on categorical measures were examined using chi-square and Mann—Whitney tests. All analyses were examined using an alpha of. Demographic and descriptive data for age, height, weight, Body Mass Index scores, acculturation scores, and SES levels are presented in Table 1.
No other ificant differences were found.
The range of SES scores was 12— For Caucasian participants, the mean SES score was Overall, the mean SES score was Contrary to expectations, BMI and SES were not ificantly correlated as might be expected by the fact that individuals with heavier body weights are over-represented in the lower SES levels. This is likely due to a restricted range on SES with relatively few represented in the lower class. The distribution of these preferences was not normal, as indicated by a Shapiro—Wilk test of normality. Follow-up t -tests for proportions were used to clarify the ificant differences between groups for each WHR level.
African-Americans were expected to prefer a heavier body size and lower WHR than their Caucasian counterparts. This hypothesis was partially supported. There were no group differences for ideal and least favorite weight. Here, Thus, there appears to be greater group consensus on which WHR constitutes an unattractive figure than what constitutes an attractive one.
Here, there was more group consensus on what was an attractive WHR for other-race figures amongst Caucasian men than amongst African-American men. The majority of participants in both groups chose a low WHR as least favorite for other-race figures For African-Americans, Another There were about equal percentages of participants who disliked a moderate WHR However, follow-up t -tests for proportions showed no ificant comparisons between groups.Black male looking white women
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