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Ethnic identification helps Latina adolescents resist media barrage of body images
Date:12/2/2013

CORVALLIS, Ore. A strong sense of ethnic identity can help Latina girls feel positive about their body and appearance, a new study concludes, even as this group slips further into dissatisfaction with themselves when compared to a media-filled world of unrealistic images of thin white women.

Identification and pride in their ethnic background can act as a partial buffer against a deluge of advertisements, magazines, television shows and movies that show white women in sexualized roles, researchers said, and help teenage girls feel more comfortable with themselves and their appearance.

Scientists say anything that can help is necessary as sensitive young teenagers compare themselves to an onslaught of thin and glamorous models portrayed by the media, and suffer as a result. One out of every two advertisements featuring women depicts them as sex objects.

Some past research has suggested that women of color were less vulnerable to concerns about body image, but the latest studies found that Latina girls are reporting body dissatisfaction at a rate similar to that of Caucasian girls.

"We're in a perfect storm of dissatisfaction," said Elizabeth Daniels, an assistant professor of psychology in the College of Liberal Arts at Oregon State UniversityCascades.

"This is a serious problem among girls, and our media environment and consumer culture has been making it worse for some time," said Daniels, who is an expert on gender, body image and youth development. "The issue of young teenagers feeling bad about their appearance is so prevalent that we now call it normative. In other words, it's normal to feel dissatisfied with your body."

Most adults have more real-life experience to help protect them, Daniels said, but impressionable adolescents too often feel seriously unhappy with their appearance, think about their bodies constantly, and are easily persuaded to buy the latest beauty products that advertisers tell th
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Contact: Elizabeth Daniels
Elizabeth.daniels@osucascades.edu
541-322-3186
Oregon State University
Source:Eurekalert

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