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Bioethics in the Age of New Media$
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Joanna Zylinska

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780262240567

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262240567.001.0001

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Of Swans and Ugly Ducklings: Imagining Perfection in Makeover Culture

Of Swans and Ugly Ducklings: Imagining Perfection in Makeover Culture

(p.101) 4 Of Swans and Ugly Ducklings: Imagining Perfection in Makeover Culture
Bioethics in the Age of New Media

Joanna Zylinska

The MIT Press

This chapter describes the influence of makeover shows in present-day culture. Makeover shows are an example of biopolitics where the bodies and minds of citizens are programmed to a certain standard. Makeover TV has made a radical change in exerting political power in changing a person’s physical appearance, home, gardens, and clothes. The extreme reality makeover show The Swan led to nine contestants being subjected to cosmetic surgery and confidence training for a period of three months to bring them up to an ideal standard of beauty. The chapter discusses how contestants can be termed “neo-cyborgs,” displaying the marks of technology and biopolitics on their body. The regimen that the contestants of The Swan had to go through was as strict as an army boot camp.

Keywords:   makeover, cosmetic surgery, beauty, army, confidence

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