Thoughts on Interview


Thinking about the upcoming interviews, I have several worries and fears on what could happen. A major concern, in particular, is my relationship with the interviewee. The woman I am interviewing works in the American Embassy and is a relative of a person in my class. Even though I have only met my interviewee once, I have slight fears that because of the connection I have with a member of her family, she will be reluctant to give me aspects of her life in fear of disclosing too much. This fear makes me worry that my interview will not be as good as it could have been if I had interviewed someone whom I had never met before.

Due to my interviewee’s occupation, she has several experiences with being interviewed; this poses another worry for me as I fear that she will already know how to answer specific questions and as a result will give generic and thought-out answers. When thinking about both interviews, I am cautious as to whether I will be able to fill the 45-90 minute time slot. As I have not interviewed someone about their personal life before, I am not sure how I will be able to talk for so long without seeming rude or intrusive, or whether she would even want to speak for such an extended amount of time.

It has also come to my attention that due to my interviewee’s occupation in government, she will not be allowed to answer certain questions about her job. As the project is about women and their careers, this poses a problem if a certain aspect of her job cannot be answered and my interview is left without vital information because of this.

In regards to researching my person to create appropriate questions, I have been very lucky in the respect that the member of her family that I know has been very helpful in giving me information about her relatives life, her birthplace, degree, etc. Due to this helpfulness, I was able to create several questions that that are relevant to her background. Nevertheless, I am also hoping that the generic questions about schooling, relatives, and ambitions will be enough to start a detailed discussion about her life and career.

The feminine beauty ideal


I would like my oral history project to look at the feminine beauty ideal of the 1960’s, a time where I believe showed the highest contrast in what was deemed beautiful. I would like to interview both black and white women who were preferably teenagers during this period, and enquire on the pressures of having to look a certain way. This project will specify on black women and how they were treated. The segregation of black women for how they looked has always been a part of black history as even slave narratives mention the harsh treatment that black people were subdued to for looking different to white people.

When doing my interviews, I would like to ask about the women’s feelings with beauty during the 1960’s. The questions that I would be asking would revolve around how they were treated and if they were made to feel inferior or if they felt ugly because their looks were not being deemed as beautiful by society. It would also be interesting to see if black women had the same cosmetic opportunities that white women had during this time. In today’s market there is still limited opportunities for different coloured girls to match their skin tones with the products on offer and so it can only be imagined what black women during the 1960s had to go through when wanting to make beauty purchases. Along with interviewing black women I think it is important to also interview white women and discuss their thoughts on what the idea of beauty was when they were growing up. Why did they think that something was more beautiful than something else? And if they were aware of the black struggle when it came to looking a certain way.

I think this topic would be a very important oral history project on the basis that the idea of beauty is still very confusing. Even though this project will be delving into the emotional troubles of race and segregation, I do believe that with the amount of time that has past I will be able to find some participants who would be willing to discuss their treatment on these issues. It would also be interesting to see if there were any lasting effects on both the black and white women on what they thought beauty was. I believe that this project could create a better insight into 1960’s society, an insight that has not been looked at to this extent before.