Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in Sociology


Sociology and Anthropology

First Advisor

James M. Thomas

Second Advisor

Kirsten Dellinger

Third Advisor

Jeffrey Jackson

Relational Format



The global beauty industry is prominent both in western and non-western nations. East Asian countries like Japan, Korea, and China are the biggest markets. Although each of these countries has local beauty standards, the global beauty industry imposes western beauty standards on individuals in those countries. This affects not only Asians in Asian countries, but also Asian Americans who are thought to be somehow foreign and, therefore, underrepresented in the U.S. media. Moreover, some Asians and Asian Americans take this for granted and unconsciously adopt western beauty standards into their routine beautification practices. Asians' and Asian Americans' beautification practices function as their habitus to conform to western beauty standards. In this research, I conduct qualitative semi-structured interviews with six Japanese and six Asian American female students in the University of Mississippi oxford campus to understand how beauty standards in society are recognized among Asians and Asian Americans, how they adopt the western beauty standards into their daily lives, and how they form their identity as Asians. The data suggests two main findings. First, Japanese participants are segregated from white Americans by comparing them as "foreigners" or "Americans," whereas Asian Americans differentiate themselves by their ethnic identities. Another finding is that Japanese participants view beautification practices as an obligation for adults, but Asian American participants proceed to the practices for their leisure. They certainly feel small eyes or lower nose bridges are unattractive that are stereotypical Asian facial features media depicts. However, both Japanese and Asian American participants do not sense their connection to western beauty standards when they proceed to beautification practices.

Included in

Sociology Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.