Graduation Date


Document Type

Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Humanities and Cultural Studies

Department or Program Chair

Chase B. Clow, PhD

First Reader

Patricia Dougherty, OP, PhD


This paper describes the creation of the website which celebrates gray-haired women by featuring their oral histories and showcasing the aesthetic beauty of gray hair through fine art photography. The website is a platform to listen to what gray-haired women have to say on the subject of gray hair, and to encourage the audience to take a closer look at gray-haired women. When the author stopped dyeing her gray hair she experienced an ageist shift in society’s perceptions toward her, and she wondered if other graying women were having the same types of experiences, so this project investigates the idea that gray-haired women experience ageism based on their hair color. The interviewed women did not report experiencing direct ageism as a result of their gray hair, but they did report feeling varying degrees of social pressure and stress regarding their appearance as it relates to their hair. The women’s interviews led to further discussions about gray hair topics including the dominant beauty ideal, social pressure, ageism, beauty as a woman’s burden, gendered products and the cost of beauty, beauty routines and mental illness, gray hair acceptance and gray hair as a tool for future stages of aging. The author concludes that because gray hair is outside of the dominant ideal that gray-haired women can experience a shift in social power. The author states that all people in society should examine their roles in the power dynamic and if in a dominant position, make room for other voices.


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