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The Ugly Side of Beauty; A Second Look at Wendy Chapkis’ Beauty Secrets: Women and the Politics of Appearance

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In 1986, Wendy Chapkis published Beauty Secrets: Women and the Politics of Appearance, exploring beauty as it is interpreted through physical appearance, gender, and sexuality. Over thirty years later, many of the trends and problems Chapkis identified still exist or

In 1986, Wendy Chapkis published Beauty Secrets: Women and the Politics of Appearance, exploring beauty as it is interpreted through physical appearance, gender, and sexuality. Over thirty years later, many of the trends and problems Chapkis identified still exist or have gotten worse; we still live in a society that praises ideal physical beauty, and creates and reinforces unrealistic beauty standards. This research strives to determine why these problems still exist, and how to solve them. Through a combination of creative writing and analytic research, this project will discuss topics that have helped to create problems like cultural influences, gender norms, and the media, as well as discuss the consequences like mental health and eating disorders, and the unattainable ideal beauty standard. The purpose of this study is to bring new attention to the flaws of a society that teaches people they are defined by their appearance, in order to teach people what actions we need to take to make real progress. Research was conducted using an online survey to allow for anonymous, honest, responses, which were then analyzed to inspire sections of creative writing, as well as fuel the analytical research portions of the paper. In this way, the text mirrors Chapkis’ original style to connect and engage with readers. Research shows that many respondents know there are problems with society’s standards, but feel powerless to change anything. This study provides a platform to restart the conversation, and call people to action, to inspire people not to simply redefine beauty, but teach them that they should not define others or themselves by merely their physical appearance.

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2019-05

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Build-a-Babe: An Interactive Installation Exploring Seventeen's Notion of the Perfect Woman

Description

With beauty magazines becoming a prevalent source of information and inspiration for girls and young adults, this creative project analyzed Seventeen Magazine in an attempt to understand its implications. Shortly after its debut, the publication shifted its focus from career

With beauty magazines becoming a prevalent source of information and inspiration for girls and young adults, this creative project analyzed Seventeen Magazine in an attempt to understand its implications. Shortly after its debut, the publication shifted its focus from career and goal-oriented topics to those of fashion and romance. In an effort to construct a visual critique of the segments produced by Seventeen and receive audience response, an interactive installation was created and opened to the public. This paper explains the method used and includes a discussion of audience opinion.

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2014-05

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Intersectionality in Sport: Exploring the Construction of a Black Female Athlete’s Identity

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Research has shown that being a female athlete in a male-dominated sports world is an oppressive burden, yet the experiences of being a black female athlete have been largely ignored. To combat this lack of attention, this paper invokes communication

Research has shown that being a female athlete in a male-dominated sports world is an oppressive burden, yet the experiences of being a black female athlete have been largely ignored. To combat this lack of attention, this paper invokes communication and feminist theorist Bell Hook's concept of moving black women from margin to center to reveal the intersectional oppression of gender and racial narratives that they face in sports. By outlining the difference between white and black femininity and studying media portrayals of popular black female athletes such as Venus and Serena Williams and others, it becomes obvious how black women are typecast into certain social and athletic roles. This research also includes an auto-ethnographic component of my own experience as a black female lacrosse player at the NCAA Division I level. This component functions as a point of comparison and contrast of the ideas and concepts I discuss. Lastly, I offer recommendations and suggestions as to how to empower young black female athletes and retain them in a variety of sports. The goal of my thesis is to place special attention onto black women in an area which there is an extreme lack of representation. My own empirical research has led me to the conclusion that not only is such a discussion important, but it is absolutely necessary. If we are to fight back against hegemonic social structures such as racism and gender roles in the sports world, we must first understand what we are up against. My thesis gives us a glimpse into our imposing opponents, and I hope that future research continues this trend so that black female athletes like myself may one day be considered an athlete in the same sense that our white peers are.

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2021-05

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Perp Walks and Prejudice

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This study is a qualitative analysis that makes use of Rick Williams’ Personal Impact Assessment (PIA) to gauge the feelings, narratives, and intuitions that people receive when they view photographs of criminal defendants being made to do a “perp walk.”

This study is a qualitative analysis that makes use of Rick Williams’ Personal Impact Assessment (PIA) to gauge the feelings, narratives, and intuitions that people receive when they view photographs of criminal defendants being made to do a “perp walk.” Participants gave their impressions, which were then categorized and analyzed, along with other statements that they made during an interview outside of the PIA. This study attempted to understand better the received messages of the common media practice of spreading images of perp walks.

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2020-05

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The Roots of Forgiveness Communication in Relation to Families

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Building on research on family communication and forgiveness, this study seeks to understand how families communicate the value and practice of forgiveness. Through semi-structured interviews, the study asks participants to recall their formative conversations and experiences about forgiveness with their

Building on research on family communication and forgiveness, this study seeks to understand how families communicate the value and practice of forgiveness. Through semi-structured interviews, the study asks participants to recall their formative conversations and experiences about forgiveness with their family members and to discuss how those conversations influenced their current perspectives on forgiveness. Interviews from five female undergraduate students yielded seven main themes from where individuals learn how to forgive: 1) Sibling conflicts, 2) Family conversations about friendship conflicts, 3) Conversations with Mom, 4) Living by example, 5) Take the high road, 6) “Life’s too short”, and 7) Messages rooted in faith and morality.

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2021-05