Body Image of Dancers in Los Angeles: The Cult of Slenderness and Media Influence Among Dance Students

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Body image and self-esteem are examined through personal stories among Los Angeles college dancers who grew up in the Hollywood culture of the cult of slenderness. The study incorporates a body image survey, eating disorder screen, and an interview process capturing dancers’ lived experiences with daily pressures. Dancers reveal their experiences with body image struggles and empowerment. Quantitative and qualitative results point to a need for future social activist intervention with dancers in their formative years when body image concepts are formed. At this time of need and rebellion, the dance community could support change by increasing focus on wellness to better support girls and women so mediated pressures will not continue to squelch the self-esteem of girls and women.

Citation / Publisher Attribution

Teresa L. Heiland , Darrin S. Murray & Paige P. Edley (2008) Body image of dancers in Los Angeles: the cult of slenderness and media influence among dance students, Research in Dance Education, 9:3, 257-275, DOI:10.1080/14647890802386932