Title

Changing physical appearance preferences in the United Arab Emirates

Source of Publication

Mental Health, Religion and Culture

Abstract

Rapid economic growth in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has impacted traditional ways of life rooted in Bedouin traditions and Islamic values. Research undertaken within the UAE suggests that a thin body-image ideal is widespread, as are abnormal eating attitudes and extreme dietary behaviours. However, this regional research has been exclusively cross-sectional, precluding conclusions about the temporal dynamics or nascence of these phenomena. This study explores changes in physical appearance preferences in the UAE over the past two decades. Interviews were undertaken with five khatabaat (marriage brokers), who were asked to report the attributes typically requested by those seeking wives, both now, and in the past. Thematic analysis of these data highlighted differences between the attributes currently deemed desirable, and those deemed desirable in the recent past. These findings are discussed in the context of the nation's rapid socio-economic change, and their implications for body-image and eating-related problems. © 2014 © 2014 Taylor & Francis.

Document Type

Article

First Page

594

Last Page

600

Publication Date

1-1-2014

DOI

10.1080/13674676.2013.871242

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