‘This big bum thing has taken over the world’: Considering black women’s changing views on body image and the role of celebrity | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 7, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 2040-4417
  • E-ISSN: 2040-4425



Based on a small-scale project that explores racial distinctions in women’s attitudes towards weight loss and dieting, this article considers black women’s changing understandings of beauty and body image, and in particular young black women’s desire for a ‘slim-thick’ look. This is a body shape that brings together aspects of black and white beauty, seen to be embodied by Kim Kardashian, due to her full-figured bottom and thighs, and her very petite waist. The article argues that Kim Kardashian has been an important influence in shaping young women’s notions of attractiveness, by encouraging a common concept of body image and desirability across racial groups. Indeed, operating as an ‘exotic other’, who sits somewhere between black and white beauty, Kim Kardashian and the ‘slim-thick’ ideal perhaps offer an example of cultural assimilation, and yet they also work to exaggerate cultural stereotypes, encouraging a notion of beauty that is unrealistic, and far outside the reach of ordinary women.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): beauty; exotic; fashion; gender; race
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