What are the factors which influence a female student’s decision to apply cosmetics and conform to the idealised image of beauty?
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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It is commonly believed that makeup is fundamentally used as a quick means to enhance facial symmetry and conceal minor imperfections. In light of this, evidence suggests that there are several underlying explanations for the use of makeup which require further exploration (Dellinger & Williams, 1997). However, much of the research surrounding makeup use either focuses on the public’s perception of females wearing cosmetics or is of a quantitative nature where observations are conveyed into numbers and personal experiences are lost (Nash et al, 2006; Britton, 2012). As such, the aim of the proposed study was to explore female students’ experiences and perceptions surround makeup use, to discover which factors influence a female’s decision to apply and conform to the idealised image of beauty. The study used semi-structured interviews to draw responses from eight female, undergraduate students. A thematic analysis was then adopted to identify the most salient themes within the transcripts. Two superordinate themes were identified: ‘personal perception surrounding makeup’ and external influences surround makeup use’. These illustrate how certain psychological traits caused women to rely heavily on makeup, in addition to highlighting the collective, external factors that pressurised women to apply cosmetics. Overall, it was found that a women’s natural beauty state was less favoured by society, which left women feeling dissatisfied with their appearance. Looking ahead, further research is required to raise awareness of the body-image pressures imposed on women and the damaging effect they can have on a female’s self-image.
BSc (Hons) Psychology
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