Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)




Maureen Fitzgerald

Committee Member

Leisa D Meyer


This dissertation is a study of the influence of the women's movement on the marketing of beauty products between 1960 and 2000. The first and last chapters study feminist critiques of normative beauty standards and explore the challenges feminists faced when they tried to effect cultural change.;While the dissertation is framed by analysis of feminist engagement with beauty culture, the bulk of the dissertation examines beauty industries, focusing on the ways that these industries reflect debates over woman's identity and status. Chapter two traces the marketing of perfume between 1960 and 2000 by chronicling changing advertising campaigns as marketers adapted to and participated in social change. The third chapter explores the direct sales strategies of Mary Kay Cosmetics, a company dependent on independent consultants, typically women, to market its products. Finally, chapter four details the genre of beauty advice books and articles, focusing on how the tone and content of this advice has been shaped by the social world of the advisor. By looking specifically at these beauty industries, these chapters demonstrate the ways that ordinary Americans engaged with feminism in their professional lives.;These case studies illuminate late-twentieth-century debates over womanhood, sexuality, and femininity that took place within the business world and the culture at large. Ultimately, this dissertation offers a clearer picture of the interconnections between beauty marketing and feminism, highlighting the ways in which social movements affect the industries they critique.



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