Is there a difference? Society's definition of beauty vs. Miami University students

This topic submitted by Ali, Joey, Jenny, and Melissa ( at 11:58 pm on 9/30/99. Additions were last made on Wednesday, May 7, 2014. Section: Cummins

1. Introduction

Flipping through Cosmopolitan, we notice the majority of this magazine is advertisements. This one, promoting a new 3 in 1 concealor which glides on smooth, dots on to conceal, and finishes powder light, is demonstrated by a face which appears to have no acne, beautiful lengthy eyelashes, thin lips with the perfect shade of lipcolor, and finely plucked eyebrows. We question, is this face what we are supposed to strive for? Is this what is considered beautiful?


Our research group would like to compare society's definition of what is physically beautiful to that of Miami University students definition. Is there a difference? Can we consider the requirement of being beautiful a true one in order to get somewhere in life?


Our group believes that the students at Miami University will define beauty much like society does, possibly a slender figure for the female and muscular for the male, clear complexion, and deep eyes. Although, in the long run we believe people settle for the whole character, especially when seeking a husband.

With this, we plan to accomplish either a truth or a lie, one that may be hurtful in the end. Here are a few questions we would like to be able to answer after reviewing the data: In meeting someone do you solely decide to go on a date with them because of their appearance, or is it because they posses nice qualities? What visible qualities of a person to people most concentrate on? Can we consider the requirement of being beautiful a true one in order to get somewhere in life?

Our group is interested because personally each of us wants to know how we fit in. Are we considered beautiful and who is to say? One other accomplishment we hope achieve is a shield against what other people think based on outer appearance. By portraying to the class how big of a factor outer beauty is and the negative aspect of that, people may change their judgements or roundabout way of selecting a partner. After all, who wants to be so close minded?

2. Relevance of your research question

Recently, all the freshman students in Creativity and Culture just finished reading a book titled Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy. Lucy tells her life story from the time she acquired a malignancy on her jaw, to the time she came to terms with her face never being the same again. Half of her jaw was removed at an early age due to the cancer. With such an unusual shape of the face she comes across social problems each and every day, one being the fact that no man will ever desire or feel attracted to her. Lucy Grealy quotes: "Beauty, as defined by society at large, seemed to be only about who was best at looking like everyone else." And so we see it as Lucy Grealy does: beauty matters.

3. Materials and Methods

We must first investigate different sources that portray societies perception of outer beauty. Magazines, the evening news, covers on CD's, and the appearance of the musician and stars of the movies should help us define societies perception of beauty. Our group will study this media and then come to a conclusion. A survey will be distributed to approximately 100 Western Campus students and 100 Main Campus students. We will distribute one survey to all students male and female. It will inquire what a woman defines as a beautiful woman, and what a man defines as a handsome man. The materials we will use to define societies perception of beauty will be the ones which simply are distributed and viewed by society the most- magazines, movies, the evening news, and catalogs.

Our group is shooting for some specific dates to have the research completed, survey distributed and results complied. They are the following:

Wed. October 6, 1999- Group meeting to determine societies perception of beauty
Mon October 11, 1999- Group meeting to establish survey
Tues. October 12, 1999- Have beauty survey created and distribute survey throughout that entire week

4. Results (not yet accessible)

5. Data and Conclusions

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