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The Cosmetic Gaze: Body Modification and the Construction of Beauty

Bernadette Wegenstein

Abstract

If the gaze can be understood to mark the disjuncture between how we see ourselves and how we want to be seen by others, the cosmetic gaze—in this book’s formulation—is one through which the act of looking at our bodies and the bodies of others is already informed by the techniques, expectations, and strategies (often surgical) of bodily modification. It is, the author says, also a moralizing gaze, a way of looking at bodies as awaiting both physical and spiritual improvement. The book charts this synthesis of outer and inner transformation. It shows how the cosmetic gaze underlies the “rebirt ... More

Keywords: modification techniques, modification expectations, modification strategies, moralizing gaze, spiritual improvement, outer transformation, inner transformation, makeover culture, physiognomy, facial-recognition software

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2012 Print ISBN-13: 9780262232678
Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013 DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262232678.001.0001

Authors

Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Bernadette Wegenstein, author