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Pretty Modern : Beauty, Sex, and Plastic Surgery in Brazil



Pub. Date:
Duke Univ Pr
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Pretty Modernis a riveting account of Brazil's emergence as a global leader in plastic surgery. Intrigued by a Carnival parade that mysteriously paid homage to a Rio de Janeiro plastic surgeon, anthropologist Alexander Edmonds conducted research that took him from Ipanema socialite circles to glitzy telenovela studios to the packed waiting rooms of public hospitals offering free cosmetic surgery. The result is provocative exploration of the erotic, commercial, and intimate aspects of beauty in a nation with extremes of wealth and poverty and a reputation for natural sensuality. Drawing on conversations with maids and their elite mistresses, divorced housewives, black celebrities, and favela residents aspiring to be fashion models, he analyzes what sexual desirability means and does for women in different social positions. Edmonds argues that beauty is a distinct realm of modern experience that does not simply reflect other inequalities. It mimics the ambiguous emancipatory potential of capital, challenging traditional hierarchies while luring consumers into a sexual culture that reduces the body to the brute biological criteria of attractiveness. Richly illustrated with colour photographs,Pretty Modernoffers a fresh theoretical perspective on the significance of female beauty in consumer capitalism.

Author Biography

Alexander Edmonds is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Amsterdam.

Table of Contents

Illustrationsp. viii
Introduction. In the Universe of Beautyp. 1
The Self-Esteem in Each Ego awakens
The Siliconadasp. 37
The Philosopher of Plásticap. 47
Without Tits There Is No Paradisep. 57
A Brief History of Self-Esteemp. 75
Hospital Schoolp. 89
The Right to Beautyp. 102
Aesthetic Healthp. 114
Beautiful People
Pretap. 123
Magnificent Miscegenationp. 127
The National Passionp. 135
Nanci's Rhinoplastyp. 143
My Black Is My Brandp. 150
Role Modelsp. 162
The Economy of Appearancesp. 167
Engineering, the Erotic
Creating and Modeling Naturep. 177
Aesthetic Medicine and Motherhoodp. 183
The Vanity of Maidsp. 195
Lens of Dreamsp. 204
I Love Myselfp. 219
Conclusionp. 239
Acknowledgmentsp. 253
Notesp. 257
Referencesp. 269
Indexp. 287
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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