bethanbloodrose (bethanbloodrose) wrote in ed_ucate,

14. Eating behaviours and attitudes following prolonged exposure to television among ethnic Fijian adolescent girls, The British Journal of Psychiatry

(C) 2002 The Royal College of Psychiatrists

Volume 180, June 2002, pp 509-514

Eating behaviours and attitudes following prolonged exposure to television among
ethnic Fijian adolescent girls+

ANNE E. BECKER, PhD, Department of Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School,
Boston, MA and Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston,
of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA; STEPHEN E. GILMAN,
ScD, Department of Health and Social Behavior, Harvard School of Public Health,
Boston, MA, USA
+See editorial, pp. 480-482, this issue.
Correspondence: Dr Anne E. Becker, Massachusetts General Hospital, 15 Parkman
Street, WAC 812, Boston, MA 02114, USA
(First received 21 December 2000, final revision 14 June 2001, accepted 14 June

Background: There are no published studies evaluating the impact of introduction
of television on disordered eating in media-naive populations.

Aims: To assess the impact of novel, prolonged exposure to television on
disordered eating attitudes and behaviours among ethnic Fijian adolescent girls.

: A prospective, multi-wave cross-sectional design was used to compare two
samples of Fijian schoolgirls before and after prolonged regional television
exposure with a modified 26-item eating attitudes test, supplemented with a
semi-structured interview to confirm self-reported symptoms. Narrative data from
a subset of respondents from the exposed sample were analysed for content
relating television exposure to body image concerns.

: Key indicators of disordered eating were significantly more prevalent
following exposure. Narrative data revealed subjects' interest in weight loss as
a means of modelling themselves after television characters.

Conclusions: This naturalistic experiment suggests a negative impact of
television upon disordered eating attitudes and behaviours in a media-naive

Declaration of interest: This study was supported by funding from the Harvard
Medical School.


Epidemiological data showing a greater prevalence of eating disorders in
industrialised societies than in developing societies suggest that the cultural
context may be one important aetiological component. However, specific cultural
mechanisms that mediate disordered eating remain poorly understood. Previous
attempts to establish a relationship between media exposure and eating disorders
have been limited by the use of study subjects from environments in which there
is chronic exposure to Western media imagery and disordered eating is already
prevalent. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of the recent
introduction of Western television on disordered eating among ethnic (indigenous)
Fijian adolescent girls - a relatively media-naive population in which
disordered eating previously was thought to be rare. To our knowledge, this is
the first study investigating patterns of disordered eating before and after
prolonged television exposure in a developing society. Demonstration of a
significant impact of media exposure would allow insight into the pathogenesis
of eating disorders and suggest potential preventive strategies.


The impact of television exposure on indicators of disordered eating was
investigated via a prospective, multi-wave cross-sectional design in which two
separate samples of ethnic Fijian adolescent girls were assessed in Nadroga,
Fiji. The first wave occurred in 1995, within a few weeks of the introduction of
television to Nadroga, and the second in 1998, after the area had been exposed
to television for 3 years. Qualitative methods - borrowed from the standard
toolbox of anthropological methodology and involving a detailed analysis of
narrative data to illuminate how cultural processes affect feelings and
behaviours in this context - were used to complement quantitative methods.
Specific research questions included: whether exposure to Western television has
stimulated disordered eating behaviour despite local cultural practices that
have traditionally supported robust appetites and body shapes; whether markers
of disordered eating in Fiji are associated with body dissatisfaction as they
are in the West; and whether a shift away from traditional values - as evidenced
by intergenerational disparities in attitudes concerning diet - may be one
mechanism mediating between television exposure and disordered eating.

Study site

Fiji was selected as a study site because of its extremely low prevalence of
eating disorders, having only one reported case of anorexia by the mid-1990s.
The Nadroga province of Fiji was selected for its lack of exposure to television
until mid-1995. Similar to other Polynesian groups (Pollock, 1995), ethnic
Fijian traditional aesthetic ideals reflect a preference for a robust body
habitus; thus, the prevailing 'pressure to be slim' thought to be associated
with dieting and disordered eating in many industrialised societies was
distinctly absent in traditional Fiji. In addition, traditional Fijian values
and practices encourage robust appetites and a widespread vigilance for and
social response to appetite and weight loss. Individual efforts to reshape the
body by dieting or exercise thus traditionally have been discouraged (Becker,
1995; Becker & Hamburg, 1996).

Study population

The study population comprised all ethnic Fijian adolescent girls enrolled in
Forms 5-7 at two secondary schools in Nadroga during the respective data
collection periods. Written informed consent was obtained from subjects and a
corresponding parent or guardian. Sixty-three respondents participated in the
study in 1995, within a month of television being introduced to the area, and 65
respondents participated in 1998, after television had been broadcast to the
area for 3 years. Information about the total number of students meeting
inclusion criteria was not available in 1995; in 1998, the response rate was

Data collection

Subjects in both samples responded to a modified 26-item eating attitudes test
(EAT-26; Garner et al, 1982) that included questions concerning bingeing and
purging behaviours. The EAT-26 has been in wide-spread use in a variety of
cultural settings and required no translation for use in this study population
because all subjects were fluent in English; however, to enhance comprehensibility,
concepts or words that were thought potentially unfamiliar to subjects were
explained orally in both English (the language of instruction) and the local
Fijian dialect (Nadroga, an unwritten variant of standard Fijian) at the
discretion of the investigators. An EAT-26 score greater than 20 was considered
to be high (cf. Garner et al, 1982). In addition, subjects responded to
questions concerning household ownership of television and frequency of
television viewing. Weight and height were measured also. Respondents in the two
waves who self-reported either bingeing or purging behaviours were asked to
respond to a semi-structured interview developed for this study, keyed to
clinical definitions of bingeing and purging to confirm the behaviour (e.g. to
determine whether vomiting was induced and directed towards weight control).

In 1998, additional survey questions elicited data on body image, dieting and
potential intergenerational disparities between subjects and their parents with
respect to traditions concerning diet and weight. For example: How important is
it to you to weigh what you would like to weigh? Would it bother you if you were
too thin? Would it bother you if you were too heavy? Do you ever think that you
look too big or too fat? Do you ever think that you should eat less? Have you
ever tried to change what you eat in order to change your weight? Have you ever
tried to change how much you eat in order to change your weight? Do your parents
or family ever say that you should eat more? In addition, narrative data were
collected via open-ended, semi-structured interviews from a subset of 30
purposively sampled respondents with a range of disordered eating attitudes and
behaviours and television viewing habits within the original sample. Questions
probed attitudes and practices concerning diet and weight relative to local
cultural traditions and exposure to television within this peer environment. For
example: How do you feel about your weight? Have you ever tried to gain or lose
weight? Do you want to look different from the way your parents think you should
look? How do you feel about eating when you go to a [traditional feast]? What do
you think of American TV? Do you admire any characters on TV? Do you ever wish
you could be more like them? Do you think TV has affected cultural traditions in

Data analysis

Sample differences in television exposure, age, body mass index, bingeing and
purging behaviours, and EAT-26 scores were examined. Student's t-tests were used
to test for differences in means across samples. Differences in proportions were
assessed using [chi]2 tests and corresponding exact P values due to small sample
sizes. Finally, adjusted odds ratios were obtained from logistic regression
models to examine the associations among markers of disordered eating, body
dissatisfaction and intergenerational disparity. Narrative data from the 1998
sample were audiotaped, transcribed and analysed for thematic content and
frequency of responses with the assistance of ATLAS.ti (Muhr, 1997).


Quantitative data

The mean age in years in the 1995 and 1998 samples was 17.3 (s.d.=0.9) and 16.9
(s.d.=1.1), respectively. The mean body mass index (BMI) was 24.5 (s.d.=3.4) and
24.9 (s.d.=2.5), respectively. Table 1 shows that there were no significant
differences between the samples in mean age or body mass index. By study design,
the samples were chosen for their markedly different duration of television
exposure; television was introduced to Nadroga just prior to the beginning of
the study, so the 1995 sample had been exposed for less than one month; by
contrast, the 1998 sample had been exposed to television for just over 3 years.
Television exposure within the respective samples appeared relatively homogeneous,
with virtually all subjects (98% and 97%, respectively) reporting some
television viewing at the time of the survey. Thus, chronicity of television
exposure to the community, reflected by differences between the 1995 and 1998
samples, was the major variable chosen for assessment of the effects of
television viewing on disordered eating attitudes and behaviours. In addition to
chronicity of exposure, the samples differed significantly with respect to
access to television viewing, as reflected by between-sample differences in the
prevalence of household ownership of television: 41.3% of the 1995 sample
indicated household ownership of a television, which increased to 70.8% in 1998
([chi]2=11.31, d.f.=1, P=0.001).

Table 1 Comparison between 1995 and 1998 samples with respect to age, body
mass index (BMI), household ownership of television, bingeing, purging and high
EAT-26 scores

Two significant between-sample differences on indicators of disordered eating
were identified. First, the percentage of subjects with EAT-26 scores greater
than 20 was 12.7% in 1995, compared with 29.2% in 1998 ([chi]2=5.25, d.f.=1,
P=0.030). Within the 1998 sample, EAT-26 scores greater than 20 were significantly
associated with dieting ([chi]2=8.20, d.f.=1, P=0.006) and self-induced vomiting
([chi]2=12.10, d.f.=1, P=0.002), as expected, indicating its likely value as an
indicator of disordered eating in this population. Second, the percentage of
subjects reporting self-induced vomiting to control weight was 0% in 1995 but
had reached 11.3% by 1998 ([chi]2=6.95, d.f.=1, P=0.013). There was no confirmed
diuretic or laxative use to lose weight nor BMI consistent with anorexia nervosa

Variability in daily television viewing was not substantial enough in the 1995
and 1998 samples to allow for meaningful analysis of the association between
frequency of viewing and disordered eating attitudes and behaviours. However, we
were able to examine the association between television ownership and disordered
eating. Respondents living in households with a television set were more than 3
times as likely to have an EAT-26 score greater than 20 (OR=3.47; 95% CI
1.21-9.98; P=0.021). This association was somewhat attenuated after controlling
for sample year (OR=2.86; 95% CI 0.97-8.44; P=0.057). Given the local practice
of collective viewing at one another's homes, we consider household television
ownership to be an indicator of community access to television in addition to a
marker of individual exposure.

Next we tested the hypotheses that body dissatisfaction (as reflected in the
opinion that one should eat less) and intergenerational disparity in values
placed on robust appetites were associated with self-induced vomiting and high
EAT-26 scores within the 1998 sample. As predicted, a significantly higher
proportion of subjects who felt that they should eat less reported self-induced
vomiting (21.4% v. 2.7%, [chi]2=5.82, d.f.=1, P=0.037). Notably, self-induced
vomiting was not associated with BMI, indicating that the subjects' perceived
rather than actual weight was the salient predictor of purging behaviour.
Moreover, high levels of perceived intergenerational disparity on the issue of
eating less were associated with an increased probability of self-induced
vomiting (26.3% v. 4.4%, [chi]2=6.75, d.f.=1, P=0.019). In a multivariate
logistic regression model, the likelihood of having an EAT-26 score greater than
20 was significantly higher also for those who reported feeling that they should
eat less (OR=7.42, 95% CI=2.12-30.93, P=0.003), independent of subjects' BMI.

Baseline survey data on dieting were not collected in 1995 because ethnographic
data had demonstrated previously that dieting for weight reduction was rare in
Fijian traditional culture (Becker, 1995). By 1998, however, survey data
indicated that dieting had become extremely prevalent among the study population,
with 69% reporting that they had dieted to lose weight at some previous time and
62% reporting that they had engaged in dieting behaviour in the 4 weeks prior to
the study. In addition, 74% of the 1998 study population reported that they felt
'too big or fat' at least some of the time, in sharp contrast to previous
prevailing traditional norms supporting a large body size. Feeling 'too big or
fat' was significantly associated with current dieting ([chi]2=10.04, d.f.=1,
P=0.003), suggesting that body dissatisfaction expressed in this way has
concrete behavioural manifestations in this context.

Qualitative data

Several themes emerged from the open-ended interviews in 1998 that suggest
television's profound influence on attitudes and behaviours concerning diet,
weight and body shape in this peer environment. First, narrative data revealed
prevalent admiration for characters seen on television as well as explicit
interest in emulating them through changing behaviour, clothing or hairstyle or
through reshaping the body; indeed, all subjects but one (of note, one without a
history of vomiting or a high EAT-26 score) reported this. Of the subjects
interviewed, 83% responded that they felt television had specifically influenced
their friends and/or themselves to feel differently about or change their body
shape or weight and 77% reported that television had influenced their own body
image. Indeed, they frequently articulated a desire to lose weight or reshape
their body in order to become more like a Western television character (see ).
Of note, the subjects with high EAT-26 scores or induced vomiting were more
likely (85%) than subjects without high EAT-26 scores or vomiting (60%) to
report television's influence on their own body image.

Respondents demonstrated a keen interest in enhancing their prospects of
securing a job or in accomplishing work at home, with 40% of subjects interviewed
rationalising their desire to eat less or lose weight as a means of improving
career prospects or becoming more useful at home. In addition, 30% of those
interviewed indicated that television characters served as role models
concerning work or career issues. Finally, all subjects interviewed
identified ways in which television affected traditional values or behaviour.
Some subjects also expressed their awareness of developing intergenerational
tensions around the teenagers' adoption of Western customs viewed on television
and specifically articulated conflict concerning expectations about an
appropriate amount of food to eat. For example, 31% of the study population
perceived that parents felt that they should eat more than they, themselves,
felt was sufficient.


This study represents the first known investigation of television's impact upon
disordered eating attitudes and behaviours in a traditional society. Survey data
demonstrate a significant increase in the prevalence of two key indicators of
disordered eating among this study population of ethnic Fijian adolescent girls
- high EAT-26 scores and self-induced vomiting to lose weight - following novel,
prolonged television exposure in their community and a concomitant increase in
the percentage of households owning television sets. In addition, narrative data
explicitly link changing attitudes about diet, weight loss and aesthetic ideals
in the peer environment to Western media imagery. The impact of television
appears especially profound, given the longstanding cultural traditions that
previously had appeared protective against dieting, purging and body dissatisfaction
in Fiji.

Relationship among culture, the media and eating disorders

Current understanding of how cultural context promotes risk for eating disorders
links body dissatisfaction to internalisation of a cultural valuation of
thinness, thus predisposing towards disordered eating (Garner et al, 1980;
Striegel-Moore et al, 1986). With the theoretical premise that exposure to
idealised images of beauty in the media stimulates social comparison (Festinger,
1954) and potential body image disturbance or dissatisfaction (Heinberg &
Thompson, 1992), numerous observational studies have investigated how media
exposure (specifically, televised and print media from the women's fashion
industry) is related to disordered eating. Several of these studies have
demonstrated an association between reported media exposure and various indices
of disordered eating (e.g. Stice & Shaw, 1994; Tiggemann & Pickering, 1996;
Field et al, 1999). Whereas a causal relationship is difficult to establish in
observational studies, an increase in indices of disordered eating has been
documented following the experimental manipulation of subjects by exposure to
media-generated images (e.g. Irving, 1990; Richins, 1991; Stice & Shaw, 1994).
However, a number of studies found that only vulnerable subjects (i.e. those
with some underlying eating disorder symptomatology or body dissatisfaction)
were affected adversely by experimental media exposure (e.g. Hamilton & Waller,
1993), whereas others found no clear impact of media exposure upon indices of
disordered eating (e.g. Cusumano & Thompson, 1997).

With one exception (Richins, 1991), these studies did not incorporate qualitative
data; thus, subjects' experience of how media consumption may affect body image
and dissatisfaction or disordered eating is not well understood. Moreover, these
studies have uniformly examined media exposure among populations already
chronically exposed to media, making it difficult to discern the consequences of
novel media exposure on eating disorder symptoms. Finally, in contrast to the
present study, these other studies have exclusively examined media impact upon
individuals rather than upon a peer environment. Thus, although it is widely
believed that media exposure may be an important sociocultural factor contributing
to the pathogenesis of eating disorders, previous studies investigating its
impact on disordered eating have been inconclusive.

Social change and eating disturbances

A growing literature documents the emergence of disordered eating in the setting
of cultural transition and globalising political and economic forces (Lee,
1998). For instance, intergenerational conflict arising within cultural
transition appears to be associated with eating disturbances (Furnham & Husain,
1999). Moreover, specific cultural forces, such as exposure to Western media
imagery, may promote transformations in body aesthetic ideals (Craig et al,
1996) that stimulate eating disordered behaviour and encourage its widespread
use as an idiom of distress in the setting of tensions generated by social
change (Katzman & Lee, 1997).

In the past several decades in Fiji, subsistence agriculture lifeways that
prevailed for centuries have yielded to a cash economy, and an increased
participation in the global economy has brought a rise in consumerism and
increasing opportunities for and pressures to engage in wage-earning among
youth. Thus, television is potentially only one of several social factors
contributing to the increased prevalence of high EAT-26 scores and induced
vomiting in the 1998 sample. On the other hand, the narrative data in this study
suggest specific ways in which televised images have been instrumental in
stimulating body dissatisfaction and a desire to lose weight. As Fijian
adolescents become increasingly aware that their traditional culture does not
equip them to negotiate the novel conflicts posed by rapid social change,
television provides the illusion of a template for the successful engagement in
a Western lifestyle.

Similarly, other studies of the effects of television on traditional societies
have documented ways in which local cultures incorporate ideas from this medium
in creative ways, such as in gleaning strategies for coping with changes
associated with modernisation (Varan, 1998) or negotiating 'hybrid identities'
in the context of globalisation (Barker, 1997). Finally, although television is
not the only source of idealised images of Western beauty available to Fijian
adolescents - indeed, print media, movies, videos and advertising predate
television in this area - it is certainly the most accessible and most widely
consumed medium and the only one introduced during the time frame of this study.

Study limitations

Several potential considerations arise in interpreting these data. First,
clinical diagnoses were not sought in this study and disordered eating attitudes
and behaviours cannot necessarily be equated with the presence of an eating
disorder. Nevertheless, both high EAT-26 scores and induced vomiting are
potentially worrisome clinical signs that often are associated with an eating
disorder. Although the interpretation of a symptom such as induced vomiting
should be made cautiously in another cultural context, its association with body
dissatisfaction in this study population parallels clinical presentations of
disordered eating in Western settings. Second, not all indicators of disordered
eating increased in this study. The absence of purging by induced vomiting or
diuretic or laxative abuse in the first sample is consistent with the previously
extremely low prevalence of bulimia nervosa among ethnic Fijians; apparently,
television exposure had no effect in stimulating either laxative or diuretic
abuse among subjects in this study population, possibly due to lack of spending
money to purchase over-the-counter preparations. The absence of extremely
low-weight individuals in either sample may be explained by the calorific
density of the traditional Fijian diet. The lack of increase in bingeing between
1995 and 1998 merits further exploration.

Next, the possibility that participants in successive samples were not fully
comparable cannot be excluded. However, both study populations were drawn from
the same grade levels and schools and were similar with respect to ethnicity,
gender, age and BMI, suggesting a high degree of comparability. We also cannot
exclude the possibility that the subjects who reported disordered eating
symptoms in 1998 had experienced them even before television exposure in 1995,
although we believe this to be unlikely given that previously there was an
extremely low prevalence of eating disorders in Fiji. The sample sizes in this
study also were unavoidably small because of the limited population of ethnic
Fijian adolescent girls attending these secondary schools.

Finally, because of the homogeneity of television viewing within the respective
study populations and in contrast to previous studies on media exposure and
disordered eating, this study demonstrates the effect of a prolonged duration of
television exposure on a peer environment rather than a dose effect of
television exposure on individuals. None the less, narrative data suggest that
the effects of television exposure indeed may be diffused among the peer group.
That is, respondents not only made explicit references to how television
influenced them, but also to how peer opinion of what was admirable in
television characters affected them. Indeed, we believe that the effects of
television exposure on adolescent individuals' body and self-image may be
mediated through the peer environment by influences on community-wide aesthetic
ideals and stimulation of consumerism.


Generalisation about the impact of television upon Fijians to other populations
requires caution; indeed, there are several factors that may render Fijian
adolescents especially vulnerable to developing disordered eating in response to
television exposure. First, there is a pronounced disparity between the narrow
range of body shapes portrayed on television and those of ethnic Fijians in a
setting in which traditional culture supports a keen attentiveness for appetite
and weight change. This may engender sensitivity among Fijian adolescents to the
routine Fijian commentary about weight. Second, television actresses' slender
bodies are consistently paired with icons of prestige that are appealing yet
relatively inaccessible to Fijians (e.g. expensive clothing and careers), thus
associating thinness with glamour. Finally, ethnographic data suggest that there
may be little awareness that television images are contrived and heavily edited.
Further qualitative research is warranted on television's impact on adolescents
in other settings to compare vulnerabilities to media exposure and enhance
understanding of how media imagery mediates the risk of disordered eating.

On the other hand, the recent introduction of broadcast television into a
relatively media-naive traditional society with an extremely low prevalence of
eating disorders has allowed a naturalistic experiment evaluating the impact of
Western television exposure on disordered eating attitudes and behaviours. The
addition of qualitative data to a conventional survey design provides an
essential context for understanding the potential mechanisms that connect
television exposure to symptoms in this population. The dramatic increase in
disordered eating attitudes and behaviours in this peer environment following
prolonged television exposure represents an extraordinary cultural shift, given
the previously enduring strong cultural sanctioning of robust appetites and body
size among Fijians.

The identification of specific Western cultural values and media imagery
associated with changing acsthetic ideals and body dissatisfaction in Fiji
provides novel support for specific culturally based contributions to the
aetiology of disordered eating. Moreover, it affords a unique window on the
cultural mediation of disordered eating in Westernised, industrialised societies
and may suggest preventive strategies in a variety of social contexts. Further
research is required to understand how Western media imagery and television
viewing may act as catalysts for other social and mental health problems among
youth in developing societies and elsewhere.


* Cultural context appears to be relevant to the development of disordered
eating attitudes and behaviours.

* Western media imagery may have a profoundly negative impact upon body image
and disordered eating attitudes and behaviours, even in traditional societies in
which eating disorders have been thought to be rare.

* Social change can rapidly alter mental illness idioms.


* This study investigated indicators of disordered eating attitudes and
behaviours rather than clinical diagnoses of eating disorders.

* Although unlikely, the possibility that subjects who reported disordered
eating in 1998 had experienced them prior to the introduction of television in
1995 could not be excluded.

* Other social variables potentially contributing to the increase in prevalence
of disordered eating were not investigated.


The authors wish to acknowledge the Fijian Ministry of Education for their
assistance in arranging for the schools' participation. The authors thank Kesaia
Navara and Sr Joana Rokomatu for their facilitation and assistance with data
collection. This study was supported by: the Irene Pollin Fellowship in Memory
of Cherry Adler; Harvard Medical School; a Dupont-Warren Fellowship from the
Harvard Consolidated Department of Psychiatry; and the Harvard Eating Disorders


Excerpts of narrative data indicating admiration for and a desire to emulate
television characters' body shape and size

'When I look at the characters on TV, the way they act on TV and I just look at
the body, the figure of that body, so I say, "look at them, they are thin and
they all have this figure", so I myself want to become like that, to become
thin. (s-22)

...I think all those actors and actresses that they show on TV, they have a good
figure and so I, I would like to be like them ... since the characters [on
Beverly Hills 90210] are slimbuilt, [my friends] come and tell me that they
would also like to look like that. So they, they change their mood, their
hairstyles, so that they can be like those characters ... so in order to be like
them, I have to work on myself, exercising and my eating habits should change.

...when they see that some of the characters are, are very fit in their body and
then try to be like that, they try to be like that character. (s-30)

... it's good to watch [TV] because ... it's encouraged me that what I'm doing
is right: when I see the sexy ladies on the television, well, I want to be like
them, too. (s-20)

[TV] usually affects me because I see some of the, some of the girls, when I see
their bodies, how they have been built, their weight. I see them, it affects me
'cause, ah, I usually want to become that weight.... Because people nowadays
watching TV, they copy some of the things that [are] there. That's why they are
changing so much. (s-7)

[TV viewing] affects me because sometimes I feel fat... (s-34)

... most of the time when I watch TV...when I look at [the actresses] they ...
look ... thin, and they do most of the things I can't do, so I just want to lose
my weight again. (s-44)

...I just want to be slim because [the television characters] are slim. Like
it's influencing me so much that I have to be slim. (s-45)

I want to be like [Cindy Crawford] ... I want to be like that, very tall, [I]
want to be taller and thinner ... [TV] always affects me that... I always say
how thin I want to become ... I wanted to become that thin, but I always tried
to become that thin. (s-48)

I like Xena [a female television character] a little bit... 'cause she's just
slim and she's ... fit, too ... before when I was a lot bigger and fat, you
know, we can't do what Xena can do ... when Xena started, from there I started
to change my, I lose weight. (s-50)

...I really want myself to be like [Xena]. And also, I like the look of her
body, the shape of her body. Sometimes I really want myself to be like her, but
then at home they keep on telling me that I will never be like her. (s-62)

... the actresses and all those girls, especially those European girls, I just
like, I just admire them and I want to be like them. I want their body, I want
their size. I want myself to be [in] the same position as they are.... Because
Fijians are, most of us Fijians are, many of us, most. I can say most, we are
brought up with those heavy foods, and our bodies are, we are getting fat. And
now, we are feeling, we feel that it is bad to have this huge body. We have to
have those thin, slim bodies [on TV].' (s-64)

Excerpts of narrative data indicating how television characters are perceived as
role models for entering a job

...sometimes we can see [teenagers] on TV... and they are very slim. They are
the same ages, but they are working, they are slim and they are very tall and
they are cute, nice; so from there we want ourselves or we want our bodies to
become like that. So we try to maintain our weight, try to lose a lot of weight
to become more like them. (s-24)

...they look good on the television, how they act and also how their body looks
like when they ... do some jobs, they are free to move around and do their
jobs... I try to look at them and change the way, my way, of dressing and also
the ways of looking fit and look to lose weight. (s-44)

I like Shortland Street [an Australian drama] because of the many young adults
involved with it... I want to be like that, I want to imitate them - the way
they live, the type of food they eat... it gives me ideas of how to solve
problems when being in this world. (s-64)

[TV] teaches me what I should do, and what I should not do.' (s-26)

Excerpts of narrative data indicating perceived intergenerational conflict
stimulated by exposure to television

...the rules that have been made by the village, they are not following it,
[because] they are copying Western culture. (s-24)

... the way of talking to adults has changed; before they used to be polite, but
now some of the Fijian children, they are tending to be impolite. (s-46)

Culture in Fiji normally accepts women here as big, heavy. In the TV, the women
are thin ... (s-58)

... my parents tell me to eat more, but I don't want to gain more weight. (s-15)

... [my family will tell me to eat more], but I will not, I do not want to eat a
lot of food to gain again some of the weight that I have lost. (s-23)

My mom wants me to look like her, like growing fat like that, but I don't want
that.' (s-50)

  • Post a new comment


    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened