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By Suzanne Fraser (auth.)

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Additional resources for Cosmetic Surgery, Gender and Culture

Sample text

I look at the way a perspective based on becoming as opposed to being destabilises every category I may wish to use in discussing cosmetic surgery. This process of destabilisation is desirable in that it prompts me to question accepted framings of what are taken to be ‘the issues’ and indeed to question the very limits of these issues. Certainly, central to my overall argument is the idea that the effects of cosmetic surgery are not limited to those individuals who undergo it. Instead, cosmetic surgery redraws and/or stabilises certain aspects of culture and thus the production of our own subjectivities and materiality in significant ways.

Due to the amount of medical research and experimentation carried out around the broad category of cosmetic surgery, new and revised procedures appear regularly. This is particularly true of skin procedures, especially those designed to reduce signs of ageing. Dermabrasion, chemical peeling and laser resurfacing21 are relatively new additions to the range of facial procedures, and although they do not involve surgery per se, they have been absorbed into the cosmetic surgery category within a range of discourses, including women’s magazines and regulatory discourse.

From this point of view, preferred readings are constructed through processes of connection (between texts), though these connections are never entirely stable, that is, they too undergo becoming. Chapters 3–6 illustrate this by examining intertextual relationships in the form of discursive repertoires, within and between specific discourses on cosmetic surgery. These relationships, it will be argued, form the basis of preferred readings. Just as the polysemic approach has in some ways been a response to accounts that emphasise a repressive model of power and a simplistic view of individuals as powerless, the position I present here is a response to a subsequent overemphasis on resistance and the romanticisation of the everyday, elements of which can be found in the two books examined here.

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