Female body image as a function of themes in rap music videos: A content analysis

Yuanyuan Zhang, Travis L Dixon, Kate Conrad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A content analysis of rap music videos taken from the end of year countdowns aired on U. S. cable outlets (i.e. BET, MTV, and VH1) was undertaken. The analysis examined the body images of 258 female characters (87.6% Black, 5.8% White, 6.6% other) as a function of the thematic content in the videos (e.g., violence, sex). It was found that, overall, "thin" females were overrepresented in the videos. More interestingly, the body sizes of the female characters varied by three of the four video themes. When the music videos were high in sex, or high in materialism, women were more likely to have smaller body sizes. In contrast, when the videos were high in political awareness, women were more likely to have larger body sizes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)787-797
Number of pages11
JournalSex Roles
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010


  • African Americans
  • Body image
  • Content analysis
  • Rap music videos
  • Theme

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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