Refashioning Race

Publication Date: 
April 2023
How Global Cosmetic Surgery Crafts New Beauty Standards

University of California Press. Cosmetic surgery was once associated with a one-size-fits-all approach, modifying patients to conform to a single standard of beauty. As this surgery has become more accessible worldwide, changing beauty trends have led to a proliferation of beauty standards for members of different racial groups. Alka V. Menon enters the world of cosmetic surgeons, journeying from a sprawling convention center in Kyoto to boutique clinics in the multicultural countries of the United States and Malaysia. She shows how surgeons generate and apply knowledge using racial categories and how this process is affected by transnational clinical and economic exchanges. Surgeons not only measure and organize but also elaborate upon racial differences in a globalized field of medicine. Focusing on the role of cosmetic surgeons as gatekeepers and producers of desired appearances, Refashioning Race argues that cosmetic surgeons literally reshape race—both on patients’ bodies and at the broader level of culture.