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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Name

MA in Women's History


Women’s History Graduate Program


"Every Woman Has the Right to Look Beautiful": Beauty Products & Body Politics in the Mid-Twentieth Century" is a template for a museum exhibit in the form of an accompanying brochure. The aim of the exhibit, with the use of the brochure, is to explore beauty culture of the United States from the 1920s to the 1950s. It examines cosmetic products, entrepreneurs, beauty icons, and the advertisements, which were influenced by and actively influenced both white and black female consumers. Racial politics and gender norms affected the ways that women have perceived and defined beauty. The transmission of beauty culture through media and culture has dictated how ideal womanhood and beauty should look. Even while resisting the mainstream definition of beauty, women of color have also influenced and been influenced by the ever-present beauty culture. The brochure encourages viewers to consider beauty culture and products, something that is seemingly ordinary or mundane, as a widespread influencer of American culture.