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Reflection on Definition of Technology and Cosmetic Surgery

2009 February 1
by Roldine Richard

Being in this class has certainly raised some interesting questions about technology and gender. A question that keeps popping up in my head is how exactly do we define the word ‘technology’? In my experience most people associated the word technology with computers, silicon chips, robots and the like, but such items as the cotton gin, the tractor, and the blender have also been categorized as technology. I think we might be limiting ourselves in thinking of technolgy in small terms. Maybe by reviewing technology as more than fiber optics and chips we’ll be able to see a pattern in how technology is used to perpetuate social and class stratification. On that note, the article I read, “The Face-Value of Dreams: Gender, Race, Class and the Politics of Cosmetic Surgery”, was very interesting to me because while advances in the technology of medicine has saves many lives, a topic that in my experience has been less discussed are implications and politics of medical practice. When I’m at home I like to watch the Discorvery Health Channel, where a show called “Plastic Surgery: Before& After ” aires. Often while watching episodes in which majority of which the patients are middle-aged women, I noticed that many of them after getting surgery reported feeling better about their appearance and having higher self-esteem. Moreover, the show a pattern of showing the patients’ lives before surgery as utterly miserable before surgery and life after surgery as something of a “rebirth”. The article also reminded me of Joan Brumberg’s “The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girls”. In it she tracks the history of the “ideal” body and the practices that women use to attain it. I wondered as I finished the article if Brumberg published a new edition, what would she say about technologies impact on the “ideal” body?

One Response
  1. Tara permalink
    February 8, 2009

    Great article! Thank you for putting it together. Potential patients will be better served going with a service like The Patients Advantage ( It’s a great way to find the best surgeons and it does not cost anything. I found them when searching for plastic surgeons. Check them out.

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