Media and the Rhetoric of Body Perfection: Cosmetic Surgery, Weight Loss and Beauty in Popular Culture, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Media and the Rhetoric of Body Perfection

Cosmetic Surgery, Weight Loss and Beauty in Popular Culture, 1st Edition

By Deborah Harris-Moore

Routledge

210 pages

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Description

Against the background of the so-called ’obesity epidemic’, Media and the Rhetoric of Body Perfection critically examines the discourses of physical perfection that pervade Western societies, shedding new light on the rhetorical forces behind body anxieties and extreme methods of weight loss and beautification. Drawing on rich interview material with cosmetic surgery patients and offering fresh analyses of various texts from popular culture, including internationally-screened reality-television shows including The Biggest Loser, Extreme Makeover and The Swan as well as entertainment programs and documentaries, this book examines the ways in which Western media capitalize on body anxiety by presenting physical perfection as a moral imperative, while advertising quick and effective transformation methods to erase physical imperfections. With attention to contemporary lines of resistance to standards of thinness and attempts to redefine conceptions of beauty, Media and the Rhetoric of Body Perfection will appeal to scholars and students of popular culture, television, media and cultural studies, as well as the sociology of the body, feminist thought, body transformation and cosmetic surgery.

Reviews

’While remaining suspicious of cosmetic surgery and weight-loss industries, this book offers a hopeful analysis of the rhetorics of body perfection. Harris-Moore compellingly traces the painful and political connections between seemingly disparate research locations such as The Biggest Loser, personal interviews with patients, Michelle Obama's Let's Move campaign, and her own brutally honest journey to body acceptance.’ Rebecca S. Richards, St. Olaf College, USA ’Media and the Rhetoric of Body Perfection extends our understanding of the contradictions, ironies, possibilities, and pressures surrounding contemporary rhetorics and lived experiences of body transformation. Harris-Moore levels frank social critique of the media’s gendered and racialized body ideals, while also offering a model of self-reflexive feminist scholarship that refuses easy answers or totalizing claims about plastic surgery, weight loss, and body modification.’ Jenna Vinson, University of Massachusetts, Lowell, USA 'Against the background of the so-called ’obesity epidemic’, Media and the Rhetoric of Body Perfection critically examines the discourses of physical perfection that pervade Western societies, aiming to shed new light on the rhetorical forces behind body anxieties and extreme methods of weight loss and beautification. Drawing on interview material with cosmetic surgery patients and offering fresh analyses of various texts from popular culture, this book examines the ways in which the media capitalises on body anxiety by presenting physical perfection as a moral imperative, whilst advertising quick and effective transformation methods to erase physical imperfections. The book’s scope is ambitious and broad, and a range of scholars will find it to be a good starting point for research on bodies, gender and media representations.' LSE Review of Books

About the Author

Deborah Harris-Moore is Lecturer in the Writing Program at University of California, Santa Barbara, USA.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOC026000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General
SOC032000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Gender Studies
SOC052000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies