Online Victimization, Womanism, and Body Esteem among Young Black Women: A Structural Equation Modeling Approach

Sara Matsuzaka, Lanice R. Avery, Alexis G. Stanton, Sarah Espinel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Digital media use represents a central part of young adults’ daily life, within which social interactions increasingly center on visual content. While visual content, such as representations of self, may facilitate positive social interactivity, it may also increase susceptibility to harmful social interactions, such as appearance-related online victimization. Black women’s bodies are often the target of gendered racial microaggressions and sexual victimization which can contribute to body image concerns. Still, the online victimization–body esteem link among Black women remains unexamined. This study used structural equation modeling to examine the associations between four categories of online victimization (i.e., general online victimization, online individual racial victimization, online vicarious racial victimization, online sexual victimization) and body esteem. We further examined whether womanism, an identity-based factor, moderated the relationship between online victimization and body esteem. A sample of 1,595 young Black women completed an online survey. Results showed that online sexual victimization was significantly negatively associated with body esteem and that high levels of womanism buffered the harmful impact of general online victimization on body esteem. Future research is needed to examine Black women’s and gender expansive people’s experiences with online gendered racial victimization along with other forms of online intersectional oppression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)681-694
Number of pages14
JournalSex Roles
Volume86
Issue number11-12
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2022

Keywords

  • Black women
  • Body esteem
  • Body image
  • Gendered racial victimization
  • Online victimization
  • Racism
  • Sexism
  • Womanism

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