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What Syracuse University Students Think about Diverse Beauty

What Syracuse University Students Think about Diverse BeautyScore 0%Score 0%

Eight colleges in the Syracuse area attract people from all over the world to continue their education. The diversity that comes with all those foreign students might also bring different ideals of beauty to Central New York.

People look differently, people dress differently and might have totally different opinions on how to look to fit the norms of society. But is there something that people from different backgrounds have in common when discussing the concept of beauty?

Different cultures, different beauty ideals

In our survey, we asked Syracuse University students from numerous countries about their opinion on beauty.

Although it seems the beauty standard is thin and muscular, 18.8 percent of people like their body to be curvy. Additionally, half of the students like their body to be healthy.
Twenty-five percent prefer their body to be skinny and only 6.3 percent prefer their body to be particularly ripped.

Does the media portray enough body types?

We also asked them if they see their body type — skin color and body figure — portrayed in mainstream media.
On one hand, 37.5 percent see themselves not presented, and another 12.5 percent are not sure. While 34.4 percent see themselves portrayed in some way, 15.6 percent see themselves presented in the media.
Whilst people in Asia strive for pale skin, most people in western cultures desire to be tan. The survey reinforced this since the vast majority of Asian students stated to be rather pale than tan.
We asked them what their cultures’ ideals of beauty are.
“For the Caribbean’s, the beauty standard is to be a mocha/brown skin complexion with curly hair,” one student answered.
Moreover, some students explained that they feel pressured to have fat only in the “right” places or to be skinny.

Natural beauty vs. plastic cosmetic beauty

Lastly, we asked them what they think about plastic surgery. It seems people have different opinions on this topic. About 40.6 percent think plastic surgery is reasonable in some cases.
Approximately 15.6 percent support it all the way, and roughly 31 percent say it is not their thing. About 12.5 percent don’t support it at all, as they think it’s not real beauty.

On Being a Pakistani Woman in America

Haadya Khan is a senior at Syracuse University majoring in IT and Television, Radio and Film.

Haadya Khan, 22, lived in five countries throughout her life. Coming to America, it didn’t occur to her what the standards of beauty were.

However, Khan quickly realized that others might expect her to assimilate to look a certain way.

“I know that we say that body shape and size isn’t that important and everyone should be how they are,” Khan said.

“But,  if you look at people on campus there’s this specific look that they all have from their hair color, or eye color and even skin tone. So, it’s very specific kind of beauty that’s expected.” 

Now living in Syracuse, NY, she said she feels a divide in upbringing.  

“I feel like a lot of the people here have a similar background; it’s more upper-class people so they definitely have a similar upbringing,” she said.

Learning from being a Television, Radio and Film major, Khan believes there is a lack of representation of minority women in media, which may be affecting people’s confidence in their looks.

“When you watch a TV show, there’s definitely not enough people of color, LGBT people or women, and that’s something that can definitely be improved,” she said.

She feels empowered when she sees other people with her skin color, such as Hasan Minhaj, in mainstream media.

On Being a Black Woman in America

Pauton Campbell is a sophomore at Syracuse University majoring in Magazine.

Pauton Campbell, 19, was made fun of for being tall and skinny. 

Campbell said being from Houston, Texas, where big thighs and a big rear-end are admired, her figure was not considered ideal

“Now that I’ve gained weight in college, I fit into the ideal now but I think that there I was made fun of a lot for being a stick and just not having any type of body any type of shape,” she said.

In addition, Campbell said a lot of her friends struggle because they aren’t the skinny and tall standard. 

“I feel like it has a lot of detrimental effects on the average body and average female mind.”

For black women, she added, representation has become a trend. She explained that now brands are including more foundation colors to appeal to more women.

“They see that there is a big profit for it now but I feel like it’s a trend,” she said.

Growing up, Campbell didn’t see herself in a lot of magazines or on social media. But now, she feels representation is getting better.

“It’s getting better, I think in terms of advertising and portraying different types of women and different ethnicities,” she said.

What SU Students think about diverse beauty


Summary Our survey outlines how students perceive beauty.

What Syracuse University Students Think About Diverse Beauty

About The Author


This site celebrates the people places, and culture that make Central New York one of the most vibrant and livable regions in the country. From Auburn to Utica, from Syracuse, to Ithaca, this is LivableCNY.

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