Plastic surgery participates in processes that define collective ideals about beauty, gender, and racial identity. In many cases, the ‘beautification’ of the body through plastic surgery results in a homogeneous body politic that excludes non-white bodies. This produces, in turn, an aesthetic hierarchy in which white bodies and facial characteristics become the norm, and racialized bodies are considered to be eternally pursuing white beauty standards. However, plastic surgery can also offer a space to destabilize normative ideas about beauty: By recognizing that the body is not a simple recipient of modifications and can react in its own lively ways, or through practices such as ‘Gangnam-style’ plastic surgery in South Korea, plastic surgery can become a vehicle to react against the imposition of white beauty standards.
About The Author
Laura specializes in the history of art and fashion in the early modern Spanish World. She is a doctoral candidate at the College of William and Mary and received her MA in Fashion Studies from Parsons School of Design. Her dissertation explores the adoption and adaptation of European fashions, their fusion with local Indigenous elements of dress, and their representation in portraits and pictures of types in the Viceroyalty of New Granada in the second half of the eighteenth century.