Media Imperialism and Body Image Perception in Kuwait


  • Charles Mitchell American University of Kuwait
  • Juliet Dinkha American University of Kuwait
  • Tasneem Rashwan American University of Kuwait
  • Monica Matta American University of Kuwait


Mass Media has a long-standing reputation of influencing perception and affecting behavior. And in the
age of globalization investigating its influence in different cultural contexts has become increasingly
relevant. Perpetuating unrealistic standards of body types is just one way mediated messages are said to
influence negatively an audience. By way of TV, magazines and movies, the media imperialism of the
United States is having a strong presence in small countries like Kuwait. The same media effects, on body
image and identity, that are found in the US should also be observable. Furthermore, the social
comparison theory states that an individual evaluates their own opinions by comparing themselves to
others. Exposure to US media, in this case US television shows, offers individuals characters to whom to
compare themselves. This study examines how US media imperialism and the social comparison theory
through media affects body perception by examining how often college-age young adults watched shows
with prominent thin television characters compared to shows that had a diversity of body types in the core
cast. Being exposed to programming with only thin characters is expected to correlate positively with body
dissatisfaction. The study included distributing 286 preliminary surveys to discover what were the most
popular shows being watched by college students (mostly 18 to 25 year olds). After the most popular shows
were identified, surveys were circulated to a sample of 240 college-age young adults (120 males and 120
females) to determine if any correlation could be made between their television show preferences and their
body dissatisfaction, or lack thereof.


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How to Cite

Media Imperialism and Body Image Perception in Kuwait. (2012). Journal of Educational and Social Research, 2(9), 146.