What is it about?

The primary goal is to identify the relevance of these perceptions on their beliefs about their own physical attractiveness. Self-identified White-Hispanic women attending a large Hispanic Serving Institution in the southeastern United States were interviewed for this study. Unlike previous research findings on Hispanic women’s skin color preferences, findings identified a “tan” skin color as preferred; pale skin was viewed as “plain” and unattractive. This preference was associated with four themes about physical attractiveness: (1) desirability among their peer groups, (2) increased value in dating contexts, (3) sexual appeal to men, and (4) marker of Hispanic identity in social contexts. Findings from this study are important for those researchers addressing identity development and relationship issues among Hispanic populations in the United States.

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Why is it important?

Few studies examine skin color among Hispanic populations. It directly influences how individuals view themselves and their psychological well being.


There is great diversity in skin color within Hispanic populations. Few studies examine these despite its impact on identity, well being and social mobility. It is important to examine this among this age group as it directly influences short and long term relationship development.

Dr. Dionne P Stephens
Florida International University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: The Role of Skin Color on Hispanic Women’s Perceptions of Attractiveness, Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, December 2011, SAGE Publications, DOI: 10.1177/0739986311427695.
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