Document Type


Date of Award



School of Communication (SOC)

Degree Name

MA in Communication

First Advisor

Professor Eui Bun Lee,


Thin idealized television images impact women from varying cultures and backgrounds. There has been limited research on the effects that such images have on African-American women. Therefore, the question of whether African-American women participate in disordered eating habits and if they are negatively influenced by thin images that are presented by the media is relatively unknown. The purpose of this study was to examine how thin idealized television images affect African-American women. This study surveyed 193 African-American women currently enrolled at Texas Southern University, which is a historically black institution. The survey administered to the female participants sought to answer the following research questions: (1) What are the effects of entertainment media on the body image of African-American women? (2) Do thin images positively motivate African- American women or negatively affect overall body satisfaction? and (3) Have any of the participants ever engaged in unhealthy eating habits in order to fit into societies thin expectations? 2 The participants were asked several questions to determine whether thin idealized images have negatively affected their overall level of self-confidence and body satisfaction. Thus, participants were asked if they have ever wanted to look like the women that they see on television. Participants were asked if they have ever compared their body and attractiveness to women on television. Furthermore, participants were also asked if they were currently satisfied with their body and if they have ever dieted in the hopes of becoming thinner. About 63% of the women reported that they occasionally want to look like the women that they see on television. More than half of the respondents reported that they have never felt pressured to be a smaller size. However, the data shows that 58% of the respondents do wish that they were thinner. On the other hand, about 69% of the women reported that they are currently satisfied with their body. The survey results suggest that overall African-American women are self-confident. However, several conflicting responses showed that the respondents experience moments of inadequacy and they do desire to be thinner. Further studies are needed to fully determine if African-American women have ever participated in disordered eating habits in order to lose weight. In addition to understanding if, some African-American women want to fit into societies thin expectations of female beauty.