Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts
American beauty standards, race, body and embodiment
America has a culturally accepted norm of what makes someone beautiful. A standard that is hard to meet. Being light-skinned, blonde and blue-eyed is the benchmark of beauty, of what is most desirable. But is that really what it takes to be attractive in America? This research examines the relationship between race, birth-place, ethnicity and self-rated attractiveness. The General Social Survey (2016) provides the quantitative data for this study. While past literature explores the connections between identity, self-esteem, and attractiveness, it does not explore the intersection of different identifying characteristics. Group position and Colourism approaches provide the theoretical foundations for the hypothesis and the research conducted in this paper. These theories also help explain why certain physical attributes are more valuable in American society. So how does the privileging of White America, specifically when measuring beauty, influence one’s opinion of their own attractiveness? This study has 1,622 respondents—non-institutionalized, English or Spanish speaking adults, who live in the country. Multiple regression analysis was used to examine the individual and collaborative relationships between the variables. The results from this study concur with some of findings from the literature. Yet, they do not support the hypotheses. The results concluded that being Non-White had little influence on one's self-rated attractiveness. Similarly, birthplace and ethnicity had no statistical significance. However, the controls, age and sex, are significant. This research explores the role identity plays in one’s view of their own beauty. Especially during a period of controversial leadership and drastic shifts in the social norms of society.
Marrinan, Kristen, "American Beauty Standards: “Paling” in Comparison to the White Norm" (2019). Sociology Senior Seminar Papers. 22.