A thematic analysis of female university students' perceptions of idealised body image in Sudan and their experiences of performing common beauty practices

Ibtisam Ahmed, Roiyah Saltus

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Abstract

This paper reports on a study that investigated body-image perceptions and the beauty practices, such as skin lightening, black-henna application and purposively induced weight gain, of young, educated Sudanese women. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 19 female students from universities across Khartoum. Participants came from Christian and Muslim families and, regardless of their origin, were all city-residents. The interviews were conducted and transcribed in Arabic, translated into English, and examined using thematic analysis. The findings indicate that beauty-related behaviours serve various potential purposes, including improvement in economic standing, increased social esteem and the preservation of a strong Sudanese national identity. Although the data was collected in 2006, recent evidence shows these practices remain of importance to young women; there remains a need to explore the range of drivers behind such practices and how best to address their harmful impacts (Yousif et. al 2014).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-47
Number of pages8
JournalDiversity and Equality in Health and Care
Volume12
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26 Feb 2015

Keywords

  • Sudan
  • Socio-cultural
  • Body image
  • Beauty practices
  • Health risks
  • qualitative research

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