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Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)


International Studies

First Advisor

Christopher Cartwright

First Committee Member

Janet Bennett

Second Committee Member

Steve J. Langdon


Beauty defined by nonvisual means is an area of exploration long overdue. The question on what or whom is considered beautiful or attractive is often left up to each individual, and dependent on the culture in which said beauty is visually seen. This research identified the physical characteristics of Western standards of beauty among women who are visually impaired. The main objective was to explore how women who are visually impaired or blind defined both physical and non-physical beauty, in addition to how they navigated ocularcentric standards of beauty. In-depth, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 10 women who are visually impaired or blind that live within the United States. Their interviews were transcribed and analyzed to critique the components of beauty within the cultural lens of women who are visually impaired or blind. What was taken from the data was then used to consider ways in which women can empower themselves without using visual means to define and describe who they are.





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