Synopses & Reviews
Pretty Modern is a riveting account of Brazilandrsquo;s emergence as a global leader in plastic surgery. Intrigued by a Carnaval 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, Edmonds analyzes what sexual desirability means and does for women in different social positions. He 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. Illustrated with color photographs, Pretty Modern offers a fresh theoretical perspective on the significance of female beauty in consumer capitalism.
An ethnography that examines the culture of beauty and plastic surgery in Brazil.
This ethnographic account of Brazil s emergence as a global leader in plastic surgery takes readers from Ipanema socialite circles to telenovela studios to the packed waiting rooms of public hospitals offering free cosmetic surgery.
About the Author
Alexander Edmonds is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Amsterdam.
Table of Contents
Introduction. In the Universe of Beauty 1
Part One. The Self-Esteem in Each Ego Awakens
The Philosopher of Pland#225;stica 47
Without Tits There Is No Paradise 57
A Brief History of Self-Esteem 75
Hospital School 89
The Right to Beauty 102
Aesthetic Health 114
Part Two. Beautiful People
Magnificent Miscegenation 127
The National Passion 135
Nanci's Rhinoplasty 143
My Black Is My Brand 150
Role Models 162
The Economy of Appearances 167
Part Three. Engineering the Erotic
Creating and Modeling Nature 177
Aesthetic Medicine and Motherhood 183
The Vanity of Maids 195
Lens of Dreams 204
I Love Myself 219