The role of race on body image in america

A noblewoman during the Italian Renaissance.

The role of race on body image in america

Hereditarian ideology and European constructions of race Hereditary statuses versus the rise of individualism Inheritance as the basis of individual social position is an ancient tenet of human historyextending to some point after the beginnings of agriculture about 10, bce.

Women's Body Image and BMI: Years in the US

Wills and testaments capture this principle, and caste systems, such as that of India, reflect the expression of another form of this principle, buttressed by religious beliefs.

Arguments for the divine right of kings and succession laws in European societies mirrored deep values of hereditary status. But many trends in European cultural history over the 18th and 19th centuries contradicted the idea of social placement by kinship fiat. Ever since the enclosure movement in England in the 15th century, the transformation to wage labourthe rise of merchant capitalism, and the entry into public consciousness of the significance of private property, Europeans have been conditioned to the values of individualism and of progress through prosperity.

Wage labour strengthened ideas of individual freedom and advancement. The philosophy of autonomous individualism took root in western European societies, beginning first in England, and became the engine of social mobility in these rapidly changing areas.

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For their descendants in America, the limitations of hereditary status were antithetical to the values of individual freedom, at least freedom for those of European descent. Reflecting and promoting these values were the works of some of the Enlightenment writers and philosophers, including VoltaireJean-Jacques RousseauJohn Lockeand Montesquieu.

Their writings had a greater impact on Americans than on their compatriots. Their advocacy of human freedom and the minimal intrusion of government was uniquely interpreted by Americans. European societies had long been structured into class divisions that had a strong hereditary basis, but the gulf between those who benefited from overseas trade and the impoverished masses who competed for low-paying jobs or survived without work in the gutters of towns and cities widened dramatically during the age of empire building.

In France the dissatisfaction of the masses erupted periodically, reaching a peak in the French Revolution ofwhich overthrew the Bourbon monarch and brought Napoleon I to power.

As early as the turn of the 18th century, some intellectuals were concerned with these seething class conflicts that occasionally burst forth into violence in France. He maintained that the noble classes were originally Germanic Franks who conquered the inferior Gauls, Romans, and others and established themselves as the ruling class.

The Franks derived their superiority from German forebears, who were a proud, freedom-loving people with democratic institutions, pure laws, and monogamous marriage.

They were great warriors, disciplined and courageous, and they ruled by the right of might. According to Boulainvilliers, they carried and preserved their superiority in their blood.

The role of race on body image in america

The Germanic myth and English constructions of an Anglo-Saxon past In England, from the time that Henry VIII broke with the Roman Catholic Church and Protestant sects emerged on the horizon, historians, politicians, and philosophers had been wrestling with the creation of a new English identity.

Indeed, European powers were soon to be caught up in the ethnic rivalries, extreme chauvinismand intolerance out of which all the nation-states of Europe would be created. The English sought their new identity in the myths and heroics of the past and strove to create an image of antiquity that would rival those of other great civilizations.

They created a myth of an Anglo-Saxon people, distinguished from the VikingsPictsCeltsRomans, Normansand others who had inhabited English territory. In their histories the Anglo-Saxons were a freedom-loving people who had advanced political institutions, an early form of representative government, and a pure religion long before the Norman Conquest.

Although in part the English were concerned about the identification and preservation of ancient institutions to justify the distinctiveness of their political and ecclesiastical structures, they also wanted to establish and glorify a distinguished ancestry.

The English scholars and Boulainvilliers derived their depictions of the Germans and their arguments from a common source, the works of Tacitusa Roman historian born in the middle of the 1st century ce.

At the end of the 1st century, Tacitus had published the Germaniaa study of the German tribes to the north of Rome. It is the first, and most comprehensiveethnographic study compiled in the ancient world and remains today a good description of a people seen at that time as barbarians.

Tacitus idealized the simple, unadulterated lives of the German tribes and contrasted what he saw as their positive cultural features with the decadence and decline of the Romans.

The German tribes were indeed the first noble savage s of the Western world. Tacitus sought to provide a moral lesson about the corruption and decline of civilizations in contrast to the virtues and moral uprightness of simple societies.

Race, Evolution, and Behavior:

Little could he have anticipated that his descriptions of a simple tribal people, written for 2nd-century Romans, would form one of the bases for a powerful theory of racial superiority that dominated the Western world during the 19th and 20th centuries.

None of the writers harking back to the German tribes for a depiction of good government and pure institutions noted any of the negative or unsavory characterizations that Tacitus also detailed in the Germania.

Among other things, he claimed that the Germans were intensely warlike; they hated peace and despised work; when not fighting—and they loved fighting, even among themselves—they idled away their time or slept.

They had a passion for gambling and drinking, and they gave blind obedience to their chiefs. The Germanic myth flourished and spread. Boulainvilliers was widely read in England and by segments of the intellectual classes in Germany and France.

By the mid- to late 18th century the English version of the Germanic myth—Anglo-Saxonism—had been transformed from an idea of superior institutions into a doctrine of English biological superiority. The French version remained a competing idea validating social class interests in that nation, and, with the defeat of Napoleon and the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy afterit was revived by those political forces that believed in the permanence of the unequal social hierarchy.

It would grow and penetrate into many other areas, notably the modern German nation itself. Published in —55, his Essay on the Inequality of Human Races was widely read, embellished, and publicized by many different kinds of writers.

He imported some of his arguments from the polygenists, especially the American Samuel Morton. Gobineau claimed that the civilizations established by the three major races of the world white, black, and yellow were all products of the white races and that no civilization could emerge without their cooperation.

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Some have speculated that the rising prevalence of obesity may explain why the rate of mortality improvement in the United States has declined relative to other wealthy countries. This paper estimates that rising body mass index (BMI) has reduced the annual rate of improvement in US death rates between and by more than half a percentage point—equivalent to a 23% relative reduction.

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The correlation between media image and body image has of a particular set of girls privileged by their race Hamilton College. College.

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