On the Lived Experiences of Latina Undergraduate Students
Morales-Thomason, Josie. “On the Lived Experiences of Latina Undergraduate Students
”, Boston College, 2021. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/bc-ir:109132.
This study contributes to and expands upon the existing literature regarding the development of cultural, ethnic, and racial identities as it relates to societal beauty standards. Through conducting nine individual interviews, this qualitative research aims to gain subjugated knowledge regarding the lived experiences of Latina women attending a predominantly white university. Using an intersectional framework, I incorporate theories of social identification, self-categorization, acculturation, and beauty standards. I deploy feminist principles of praxis and utilize a grounded theory approach in my data collection and analysis. My analysis of the data revealed seven major themes: the role of the family, messages about beauty, feeling caught between two spheres, understanding larger social forces, external pressures to identify, creating space for oneself, and defining beauty. The study suggests that despite struggling with elements of ethnic, cultural, and racial identities, the women interviewed ultimately grow to accept and embrace difference, finding value and pride in their identities and experiences. The findings of this study may be of importance to university leaders who seek to better understand ways in which to support this demographic, as well as to other Latina undergraduates who feel isolated in their struggles with identity and beauty standards.