Graduation Date


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department or Program


Department or Program Chair

Elizabeth Truesdell PhD

First Reader

Madalienne F. Peters, EdD


The purpose of this study was to examine African American and Latina high school girls’ understanding of how their self-worth and academic performance may be impacted by the amount of time used to achieve a desired physical appearance. This descriptive, qualitative study used a Participatory Action Research (PAR) methodology. The researcher conducted discussions with 11 African American and Hispanic American high school girls between the ages of 14-17, enrolled in grades 9-12. Results concluded that a majority of participants believed physical beauty was the most important quality in having a successful life and spent a significant amount of time applying and/or reapplying make-up before, during, and throughout the school day. Participants associated the concept of “ideal” beauty with a Western beauty ideal, and with celebrities. Participants equated physical beauty with success. Lastly, the study concluded that participants spend more time on media devices than on academic work.