Content Analysis

Sex Roles

, Volume 62, Issue 11, pp 787-797

First online:

Female Body Image as a Function of Themes in Rap Music Videos: A Content Analysis

  • Yuanyuan ZhangAffiliated withUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignDepartment of Communication, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Email author 
  • , Travis L. DixonAffiliated withUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • , Kate ConradAffiliated withUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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A content analysis of rap music videos taken from the end of year countdowns aired on U.S. cable outlets (i.e. BET, MTV, and VH1) was undertaken. The analysis examined the body images of 258 female characters (87.6% Black, 5.8% White, 6.6% other) as a function of the thematic content in the videos (e.g., violence, sex). It was found that, overall, “thin” females were overrepresented in the videos. More interestingly, the body sizes of the female characters varied by three of the four video themes. When the music videos were high in sex, or high in materialism, women were more likely to have smaller body sizes. In contrast, when the videos were high in political awareness, women were more likely to have larger body sizes.


Body image Rap music videos African Americans Theme Content analysis