Alopecia UK funds invested: £500

When:  January 2023 - June 2023

Project type:  Psychology, Media

Project Lead:  Dr Shruti Narayanswamy

Length of project: 6 months

Research Institute: University of St Andrews

Condition of interest:  All types of female hair loss, including Alopecia Areata

Funds being used for:  Staff costs

Research question:

How do media representations (or the lack thereof) of all types of alopecia impact women with these conditions?

Justification for research project:

This is a feasibility study focused on how female-identifying people with alopecia react to the visual representation (or its lack thereof) of all types of alopecia in media, such as film, TV, advertising and social media. The findings of this study will help inform guidelines for mainstream media representations of alopecia.

Data from questionnaires and transcribed interviews will be analysed and compiled into a report. This feasibility study could be scaled-up later into a larger study, to examine how media representation - or the absence of representation - of alopecia shapes body image and confidence.

Who is leading the project:

Dr Narayanswamy recently received her PhD in Film Studies from the University of St Andrews. She is a teaching assistant in the Department of Film Studies and works with CEED, the University’s student development body.

Over the course of her PhD research, Dr Narayanswamy worked on several projects analysing the social significance of film and media and understanding how the media around us shapes and impacts us.  She has Alopecia herself and has written about her experiences with media representation on her blog.