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SGS Celebrates Graduate Student Winners of Federal Tri-Council Awards – Kate McGregor

Author: Andrea

Posted on Jul 28, 2021

Category: Student Stories , Money Matters


Profile of Kate McGregor

Award Received: SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship

Awarded for the project: “There is only one way to be pretty!” Racialized Beauty Norms in the Global German Empire, 1884-1939

Faculty: Arts

Department: History

Project supervised by: Lisa Todd, PhD

“There is only one way to be pretty! That is natural beauty care!” declared the advertisement for the skincare brand, H.U. Schröder-Schenke, in the 25 September 1910 edition of the German colonial periodical, Kolonie und Heimat. Advertisements such as this helped to diffuse a very specific ideal of a racialized white beauty throughout the German colonial Empire. Through the examination of such periodicals, memoirs, colonial novels, advertisements, archival documents and beauty products from 1884 until 1939, I argue that beauty was an instrument used by German women to exert power and control in male oriented colonial societies. The project proposes that colonial women attempted to solidify their own identity through beauty while relegating the local women to a lower standing in the racialized colonial hierarchy. As women throughout the entire German Empire interacted with beauty, they both consciously and unconsciously applied the same outlooks regarding consumption, perception and expectation on the local women. Ultimately, my thesis will demonstrate that beauty was an important tool during the Imperial German period and will add to our understanding of the links between gender and race, in theory and practice. Beauty was not trivial as it had the power to shape the colonial sphere.