Cosmetic surgery through feminist and cultural narratives: Shifting the focus toward account-giving within doctor-patient relationality

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Elliott, Lauren
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University of Guelph

The practice of cosmetic surgery is an increasingly widespread and pervasive phenomenon in 21st century Western culture, and women are overwhelmingly more likely to pursue elective surgical intervention than men. In light of this gender disparity, feminists have asked whether or not cosmetic surgery ought to be rejected as an inherently oppressive practice, or provisionally accepted as a potential mode of empowerment for some women. This thesis focuses on feminist responses to cosmetic surgery themselves, and analyzes both the cultural 'and' discursive context within which this practice has emerged and proliferated. Ultimately, it suggests that feminists should bracket normative discussions about cosmetic surgery, and respond to the immediate ethical demand posed by the women who already participate in it, by turning next to an analysis of the doctor-patient relationship as this context is the space at which individual and structural injustices intersect.

feminist, response, cosmetic surgery, culture, normative, ethics, doctor-patient relationship