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Body Image In Sirena Riley's 'The Black Beauty Myth'

Decent Essays
The author of “The Black Beauty Myth” Sirena Riley has encountered multiple experiences concerning body image throughout her life. At a young age, she started to feel the pressure to have a perfect body. The struggle of making herself perfect ultimately lead to eating disorders. In her journey from a young age to her college years she has learned better ways to deal with negative body image through therapy. She states “I was in three body image and eating disorder groups with other young women on my campus. I was always the only black woman” (Riley 2002, 229).This quote supports her belief that black women have body image problems but are not open to seeking help or expressing it. Sirena points out three factors that influence body image in the lives of women. The first factor she believes has influence on the body image of black women and young girls is the celebrities shown in the media. In her essay, she mentions celebrities within black culture that are shown in the media as beauty ideals. Her examples included actresses, musicians, and models who are thin. There are also TV shows and ads that are shown to consumers. She gives an example of a show called “The Parkers” which follows a woman with a full-figured body. The show portrays her as a loud, ghetto woman who is constantly denied by a black college professor. The man constantly squirms away from her and goes after women with thin body figures. The second factor that influences body image in black women is the
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