Factors related to appearance satisfaction among women native to the Mountain Ok area of Papua New Guinea
Considerable emphasis has been placed on the role of Western culture in the development and maintenance of eating disorders and body dissatisfaction. Most of the research in this area has focused on the role of the thin beauty images promoted by Western media. However, there are other aspects of Western culture that could contribute to the development of these problems. In this study, the relationships between several aspects of Western cultural contact and body image satisfaction were explored. This was accomplished by comparing two groups of women with different levels of Western cultural contact (a mining town vs. a remote, rainforest village.) This sample was relatively unique, as women in the village had extremely limited contact with Western culture. For example, most women in the village had less than one year of formal education, had not seen television or read a fashion magazine. Data was collected on various aspects of body image satisfaction, including: skin color satisfaction, body size satisfaction, desire to change weight, desire to change height and other areas. Western cultural contact was operationalized as exposure to Western media (television, movies, magazines), Western-style education, and Christian religion. The majority of women, in women, in both areas, wanted to gain weight. Those with greater Western contact were less likely to admire obese body shapes and more likely to want to be taller. Those who wanted to be thinner and those who wanted to have longer, straighter hair had higher levels of Western contact. Contrary to expectations, it was those women with less Western cultural contact who were most likely to chose lighter skin colors as preferable.