Showing posts from February, 2016

Manicuring Indifference: The Exceptionality of a Routine Practice - By Louise Rondel

A selection of the colours available at a salon In advance of the 4th Beauty Demands Workshop, Louise Rondel (Goldsmiths, University of London)  considers the wider impact of the  nail industry and queries the notion that a manicure constitutes a form of 'routine maintenance'. Costing from as little as ten pounds for a basic file and polish and twenty pounds for a full set of acrylics, it would seem that getting your nails done is becoming increasingly routine.  In 2013 The Sun reported that the number of nail bars increased by 20% in the year 2012-2013 and in 2015 The Evening Standard describes how ‘a swift £20 mani pedi has become the cheap luxury of the decade’ with ‘British women now spend[ing] £450 each on their nails’.  Indeed, walking along a 2 kilometre stretch of road from Camberwell to the Elephant and Castle in south-east London, I counted 37 places where you can get your nails done.    I want to problematise the notion that a manicure is ‘routine maintenan

Need we be bikini-ready and wrinkle free? Women's accounts of ambivalence towards socio-cultural appearance ideals - By Sarah Grogan

In advance of the fourth Beauty Demands workshop, 'Routine Maintenance' and 'Exceptional Procedures', Sarah Grogan (Manchester Metropolitan University) outlines her paper on women's accounts of "appearance fixing".  Slimness is generally seen as a desirable attribute for women in prosperous cultures, and is associated with self ‑ control, attractiveness, and youth. The ideal female shape is epitomized in the slim but full ‑ breasted figures that Gail Marchessault describes as “the physically impossible, tall, thin and busty Barbie ‑ doll stereotype”. Muscle tone is also important, and the 21st century ideal is a firm ‑ looking body for women as well as men. Looking youthful is also prized. In interviews and in surveys, many women report various degrees of body dissatisfaction which does not seem to vary by age. Various studies have shown that women between 18-80 report dissatisfaction and have similar kinds of body ideals (slender, “hourglass”) th

Cosmetic Surgery, Embodied Anxiety and the Tension of Self

In this post, Doctoral Researcher Anna Westin (St Mary's University Twickenham) reflects on the news that cosmetic surgery rates are on the rise in the UK and wonders what this says about the body as a site of anxiety. On 8 February 2016, BBC Health News published a story on cosmetic surgery, highlighting the increase in surgery procedures for cosmetic purposes in the UK.  It is perhaps not surprising— as the accessibility and safety of the operations is increased (or is at least treated with more ethical deliberation) - that the 51,140 surgical procedures conducted last year, represented an increase from 45, 406 in the previous year [1] .  And this seems to fit the with the claim that ‘Plastic surgery is ‘booming’ in the UK’ [2] . So the statistics show a growing trend which appears to reference a philosophical deliberation that does not seem to be altogether foreign— If it is possible, and quite safe, why not? Other than the blurred scientific question of whether or n