Grandma Got Run Over by the Fashion Industry: An Analysis of the Negative Effects of Western Hegemonic Beauty Standards on Women 60+

Date of Completion


Degree Type

Honors Thesis


Communication Studies (CMST)

First Advisor

Gary Dauphin


The fashion industry has faced incredible scrutiny over the past decade as experts, media personnel, and citizens at large continue to criticize too-thin bodies, poreless skin, and a plethora of other physical characteristics that contribute to unrealistic hegemonic beauty standards for women. In relation to this point of interest, the central focus has typically been the impact of such beauty standards on the young female, with little conversation surrounding its effects on elderly women. My research project will tend to the question of, “What are the effects of Western hegemonic beauty ideals promoted by the fashion industry on women ages sixty and older?” Specifically, I hope to shed more light on the issue of anorexia and bulimia in older women, as such eating disorders are frequently under-diagnosed among this population (nationaleatingdisorders.org). To obtain such results, I plan to conduct in-person interviews with women over the age of sixty and doctors who specialize in the field of health and eating disorders among elderly adults. Beyond that, the majority of my scientific and background research will be done using online scholarly sources. I plan to learn more about the impact of the high physical standards set by the fashion industry on elderly women, which will, I assume, also bring about a conversation on America’s strong anti-aging stance and rhetoric. As this market is frequently overlooked in relation to body image issues, the larger implications of such research include giving older women a voice on this matter and sharing its consequences.