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Self-TransformationsFoucault, Ethics, and Normalized Bodies$
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Cressida J. Heyes

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195310535

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195310535.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 02 December 2021

Aesthetic Surgery, Aesthetic Ethics

Aesthetic Surgery, Aesthetic Ethics

(p.89) 4 Aesthetic Surgery, Aesthetic Ethics

Cressida J. Heyes (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter shows how cosmetic surgery has evolved to becoming regarded as part of the “normal” process in the quest for identity transformation, arguing that an inner self is externalized so that the aesthetic body can better represent the person within. It also believes that feminist ethical engagement will need to respond to this talk of self-transformation in kind, providing a way of responding to the suffering cosmetic surgery claims to alleviate, and recognizing the necessity and potential of working on the self as a feminist strategy. Feminists need a richer ethical grammar and vocabulary for talking about our own desires and suffering in this context. This demand for a feminist ethical language arises in part from nearly a century of cultural manufacture of a psychology for potential cosmetic surgery recipients. Cosmetic surgery bears a peculiar burden of justification unlike other medical subspecialties. In some cases the rubric of “reconstructive” procedures can be employed — repairing a cleft palate, rebuilding a face after tumor removal, or grafting skin to burns are all seen as legitimate medical measures that have necessary functional and social effects.

Keywords:   feminism, normalization, aesthetics, cosmetic surgery, ethics, self-transformation

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