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Amending the Abject Body: Aesthetic Makeovers in Medicine by Deborah Caslav Covino

By Deborah Caslav Covino

Examines the consequences and meanings of the makeover and aesthetic surgical procedure in American well known culture.

Feminist theorists have usually argued that aesthetic surgical procedures and physique makeovers dehumanize and disempower girls sufferers, whose efforts at self-improvement bring about their objectification. Amending the Abject Body proposes that even if objectification is a crucial point during this phenomenon, the explosive development of "makeover tradition" could be understood as a strategy of either abjection (ridding ourselves of the undesirable) and identification (joining the neighborhood of what Julia Kristeva calls "clean and correct bodies"). Drawing from the commercial and advocacy of physique makeovers on tv, in aesthetic surgical procedure alternate books, and within the print and Web-based advertising and marketing of face lifts, tummy tucks, and Botox injections, Deborah Caslav Covino articulates the connection between objectification, abjection, and id, and gives a fuller knowing of up to date beauty-desire.

"Looking at plastic surgery and, extra quite often, aesthetic adjustments of the physique throughout the lens of abjection is a unique procedure that yields an engaging and profound realizing of the sweetness tradition. Covino skillfully and effectively applies this attitude to a large choice of phenomena inside drugs and pop culture. She uncovers our culture's deep-seated fears of the abject physique and offers a superb imaginative and prescient of a tradition the place we'd stay with—or advance partnership with—abjection. this can be a major contribution to cultural reviews at the physique and physique modification." — Kathy Davis, writer of Reshaping the feminine physique: The quandary of beauty Surgery

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Extra resources for Amending the Abject Body: Aesthetic Makeovers in Medicine and Culture (SUNY series in Feminist Criticism and Theory)

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She abandons her oppressive confinement to the category of the beautiful, reforms her association with the grotesque, and contests her expulsion from the sublime. Yaeger and Russo conceive of an aesthetic—unlike the aesthetic surgical imaginary—that revels in abjection, viewing its pressures on the body as symbols of a womanist power, and reforming an aesthetic of the body that issues from misogyny and somatophobia. Yaeger’s 1992 essay on the “maternal sublime” proposes that women refuse the weak category of the beautiful, and look, instead, to the grotesque and the sublime to serve a feminist aesthetic.

Intervention is the point at which sufferer and nonsuffering community meet, an event that must take place in order for the sufferer to retrieve her social connectedness: “A cry of pain coming from one person may, at the very least, evoke in another an effort to help the person who is in pain; and thus pain is also a means of returning to the dominion of the social telos” (Bakan 61, emphasis added). (Alien) pain 24 Amending the Abject Body divides the sufferer not only from her own (pained) body, but also from the (supreme) pain-free population for whom pain is a deviant and unnatural condition.

Each experiences, to borrow a concept from David Bakan, telic decentralization. In biological terms, telic decentralization describes the action of living cells that divide and differentiate in the service of organismic growth. The teleological, or purposive form of the body is understood as both its drive toward integrity and its capacity to function in specialized ways. Bakan conceives of the human body as composed of various loci of organization, or multiple teleological centers, including disease tele and constructive tele.

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