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Malaysian Rural and Urban Indigenous Women: Perception of Body Image

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Peter Sercombe



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


This study investigates the perception of body image among indigenous women in Peninsular Malaysia. Using a sample drawn from urban (n=38) and rural (n=21) settings, the study engages participants who are more or less socio-economically acculturated to mainstream society in order to explore differences in body dis/satisfaction, attitudes to body image, and anxiety level in social physique between the rural-urban women. Rural indigenous women registered a higher level of body dissatisfaction than their urban counterparts. However, there was no significant difference in the attitude to body image between indigenous women in different locations. Presumably due to acculturation to Western ideals on body image, urban indigenous women who were not underweight showed a higher anxiety level concerning their social physique than those from rural areas with the similar body size. It was also found that a higher body dissatisfaction level was correlated with a poorer body image among indigenous women in Malaysia.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Lau EK, Kiaw M, Hamzah NH, Sercombe P

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Melayu: Jurnal Antarabangsa Dunia Melayu

Year: 2021

Volume: 14

Issue: 2

Pages: 285-304

Print publication date: 01/07/2021

Online publication date: 02/07/2021

Acceptance date: 19/04/2021

Date deposited: 02/09/2021

ISSN (print): 1675-6460

ISSN (electronic): 2682-8049

Publisher: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka


DOI: 10.37052/jm.14(2)no7


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