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Cosmetic Surgery

2009 February 1
by Aline

I found Victoria Banales article “‘The Face Value of Dreams’: Gender, Race, Class, and the Politics of Cosemetic Surgery,” raised more questions for me than I expected. I liked her argument about the third world women’s need for plastic surgery for economic reasons. I found this part of the chapter the most complelling.  One thing that bothered me about her argument was that it was all about women. What about men with ethnic features? Do they get plastic surgery? I am assuming they do not, so is it hard for them to find well paying jobs? I agree that, “according to racist, Western standards of feminine beauty…” women gain opportunities for “socioeconomic mobility” (133). Her article along with other things I have read convinced me of the truth in this statement. There was a news segment, years ago that I watched on the Asian women’s double eye surgery. When I first heard, that Asian women wanted to widen their eyes I thought it was the silliest thing I had ever heard! Then I heard the testimonials. Many of them said that after the surgery, teachers and employers told them they looked more “awake.” This just re-inforced the concept that they had made the right decision in overcoming an “imperfection.” This just made me sad. Also, I wonder if no one had these surgeries to change their racial features, would these Western concepts of beauty disappear? Would their societies move past the Western features and come to value their own, again?  Has post-colonialism had such a deep influence that technology is leading us to become clones? I know cosmetic surgery is used in other ways that I do not dispute.  This article however, tried to focus on the paradox that plastic surgery has created for native women.  Perhaps it is a catch-22, but I somehow, don’t want to accept that.

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