Woman In Black White

February 29, 2012 by staff 

Woman In Black White, A new survey from The Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation found that black women are both heavier and have higher self-esteem than white women in the United States. This isn’t the first time researchers have explored body type and body image differences between different races, ethnicities or cultures in America. But the degree of difference in the WaPo/Kaiser study is still startling:

Although 41 percent of average-sized or thin white women report having high self-esteem, that figure was 66 percent among black women considered by government standards to be overweight or obese.

Either white women’s self esteem is more tied to body size than that of their black counterparts, or bigger body types are accepted and idealized in black communities. Or both. Washington Post writer Lonnae O’Neal Parker says black women reject “the notion that all women must be culled into a single little-bitty aesthetic,” have been crafting their own definitions of beauty for generations and are “happier with their bodies than white women in many ways.”

This is good and bad. Good, because obviously we want all women to feel better about their bodies and not let body size define their self esteem. We want women to feel awesome and fit and sxy at a size two or a size 12. We want all of American culture to stop considering a woman’s size or shape or appearance such a strong indicator of her competence or worth. And black women’s body positivity is inspiring. Historically, self-esteem research on black girls and women has been the highest among all age groups.

Black women in this recent survey actually rated physical attractiveness more important than white women did (28% of black women said being physically attractive is “very important,” compared with 11% of white women). But physical attractiveness isn’t necessarily equated with being as thin as possible.

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