The Perception of Malaysian Rural and Urban Indigenous Women on Body Image

(Persepsi Wanita Orang Asli Bandar dan Luar Bandar di Malaysia terhadap Imej Tubuh)

  • Emily Lau Kui-Ling Faculty of Languages and Linguistics, Universiti Malaya
  • Monna Kiaw Faculty of Languages and Linguistics, Universiti Malaya
  • Nurul Huda Hamzah Faculty of Languages and Linguistics, Universiti Malaya
  • Peter Sercombe School of ECLS, Newcastle University


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 different attitudes to body image, and anxiety level about social physique between rural and urban women. Rural indigenous women registered a higher level of body dissatisfaction than their urban counterparts. However, there was no significant difference in attitudes towards body image between indigenous women in both locations. Due to a degree of presumed acculturation to western ideals of body image, urban indigenous women who were not underweight showed a higher anxiety level concerning their physique than those from rural areas with a similar body size. It was also found that a higher level of body dissatisfaction correlated with a poorer body image among indigenous women in Malaysia.

Keywords: Body Image, indigenous, Malaysian, perception, rural-urban, women


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How to Cite
KUI-LING, Emily Lau et al. The Perception of Malaysian Rural and Urban Indigenous Women on Body Image. Melayu: Jurnal Antarabangsa Dunia Melayu, [S.l.], v. 14, n. 2, p. 285-304, july 2021. ISSN 2682-8049. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 06 aug. 2021. doi: