An exploration of the body pride experiences of young Aboriginal men and women in canada


The purpose of this qualitative description was to explore how Aboriginal youth in an urban center experience body pride. Body pride may be a predictor of health for Aboriginal youth and has been described as being connected to culture. Eight participants (four men, four women) that self-identified as Aboriginal and were between the ages of 20-25 years, participated in one-on-one interviews to describe their meanings and experiences of body pride. A qualitative content analysis highlighted five themes representing body pride: (a) the body as a changing "vessel," (b) body pride as a practice, (c) traditional activities that foster body pride, (d) challenging westernized body stereotypes and the marginalization of native peoples, and (e) body pride and male views of masculinity. This research contributes to the literature by highlighting Aboriginal youth's meanings of body pride and describing how to foster body pride while affirming Aboriginal cultures and identities.

Acknowledgments: The project described in this paper was funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC, grant number 430-2012-0239) of Canada and a Research Award by the Office of the Vice President (Research) Special Fund, University of Alberta. The authors would like to thank the participants who shared their knowledge and contributed their time and effort to this project.