Date of Award

Spring 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Cassandra White


This thesis explores the college lives of Black women who attend or recently attended majority white colleges and universities in the United States. Emphasis is placed on how Black women’s college experience is influenced by the way they define beauty, as well as how they perceive their White peers to define beauty. Through the collection of ten in-depth interviews, I examine how Black women’s perceptions of beauty compare with those of mainstream United States standards and those of the dominant culture of their schools. I explored how the Black women I interviewed responded when confronted with these mainstream beauty standards and how these standards influence their social and academic lives on campus.