Grad Students

Kjerstin Gruys

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I am a qualitative sociologist with research interests centering on intersectional (race/class/gender/age/”beauty”) approaches to understanding social inequality.

For example, my dissertation examines how workplace expectations for “aesthetic labor” - i.e., workers’ style, attractiveness, “look,” deportment, etc. -  reinforce labor market inequality across the social categories described above. I use multiple and mixed research methods, including ethnography, in-depth interviews, survey data, and content analysis.

I completed my undergraduate degree at Princeton University in 2004 with a B.A. in sociology along with a certificate in the study of women and gender.  After taking a slight detour from academia to work in the fashion industry (first at Abercrombie & Fitch Corporate, and then at GAP Inc.), I relocated to sunny Southern California to earn my M.A. in sociology at UCLA in 2008; I expect to earn my Ph.D. in 2013. My mentor is Dr. Abigail Saguy, Associate Professor and Vice Chair in the UCLA Departmetn of Sociology.

Fields of Study

Sociology of Gender, Social Inequality, Sociology of the Body, Sociology of Work and Occupations, Aesthetic Labor, Qualitative Methods, Public Sociology



Gruys, Kjerstin. 2012. “Does This Make Me Look Fat?: Aesthetic Labor and 'Fat Talk' in a Women’s Plus-Size Clothing Store.” Social Problems. November, 59:4, pp. 481-500.

Saguy, Abigail C., Kjerstin Gruys, and Shanna Gong. 2010. “Social Problem Construction and National Context: News Reporting on 'Overweight' and 'Obesity' in the U.S. and France.”  Social Problems.  November, 57:4, pp. 586-610.

Saguy, Abigail C. and Kjerstin Gruys. 2010. “Morality and Health: News Media Constructions of Overweight and Eating Disorders.” Social Problems, May, 57:2, pp. 231-250. 



Gruys, Kjerstin. 2013. Mirror Mirror OFF The Wall:How I Learned to Love My Body by Not Looking at It for a Year. New York: Avery (Forthcoming May 2nd, 2013) 



Frederick, D.A., Jafary, A.M., Gruys, K., & Daniels, E.A. (2012). “Surveys and the Epidemiology of Body Image Dissatisfaction.” In: Thomas F. Cash (ed). Encyclopedia of Body Image and Human Appearance. (P. 766-773). San Diego: Academic Press.

Gruys, Kjerstin. 2010. “Fat and Identity Politics- A Review of Paul Campos’s Talk in the Gender and Body Size Series” UCLA Center for the Study of Women Newsletter February. 2010, pp. 4-6. (permalink:


M.A., Sociology, UCLA, 2008 A.B., Sociology, Princeton University, 2004 Certificate in the Study of Women and Gender, Princeton University, 2004