Sociology ETDs

Publication Date

1-28-2015

Abstract

Previous research has suggested that different racial groups have differing expectations of body size, but Asian Americans have largely been absent from this literature. Thick Dumpling Skin, a blog that focuses on body image issues and eating disorders in the Asian American community, provides an opportunity to study this unexplored topic. Thick Dumpling Skin is highly interactive and features submitted posts from multiple users. Using qualitative content analysis to code archived blog posts from 2011 to 2014, this paper studies how online users in this community come to embody stereotypes regarding the Asian body. In my analysis, I discuss how users define the ideal Asian body in ways that make thinness and Asian-ness synonymous. To members of this community, being a fat Asian is a contradiction and threat to their Asian identity. Using the microaggressions literature, I examine the potential psychological consequences of not fitting the ideal Asian body. This paper also asserts that Asians do subscribe to a thin ideal, but it is not the same ideal held by whites. I conceptualize the need to attain the perfect Asian body as the embodiment of the model minority stereotype.

Degree Name

Sociology

Level of Degree

Masters

Department Name

Sociology

First Advisor

Barker, Kristin

First Committee Member (Chair)

Barker, Kristin

Second Committee Member

Huyser, Kimberly

Third Committee Member

Whooley, Owen

Keywords

embodiment, model minority, Asian Americans, microaggressions

Language

English

Document Type

Thesis

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