Performing Perfection: Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery and the Rhetorical Body

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/202537
Title:
Performing Perfection: Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery and the Rhetorical Body
Author:
Harris-Moore, Deborah Rose
Issue Date:
2011
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Embargo:
Dissertation Not Available (per Author's Request)
Abstract:
While there is a long history of rhetorical studies that focus on oral and written discourses, the relatively recent trend of studying rhetorical images, materiality, and rhetorical bodies presents a shift toward an expanded perspective on what constitutes texts and what can be considered rhetorical. The study of bodies as rhetorical texts prompts the questions of how language is material and visual in nature. In my dissertation I examine the relationship between rhetoric and the body through Judith Butler's theories of materiality and performativity. Using Butler's theories of performance as a lens, I analyze the rhetoric of plastic and cosmetic surgery and demonstrate the role of performance in the perpetuation of and response to rhetoric of the body. Cosmetic and plastic surgery are performatives in that they not only confer a binding power on the action performed by altering the body through surgical and non-surgical means, but also initiate various citational practices within the field of medicine and in popular culture (through various mediums such as television, magazines, billboards, and websites). These procedures result in images and claims that authorize particular social expectations of beauty, youth, and sexuality.I examine a range of mass media texts related to cosmetic surgery (television shows, magazines, news clips, websites, and films) that portray different normative and deviant performativity of the body. In my research, I include interviews from volunteers in Los Angeles; my analysis involves local individuals' relationships to plastic and cosmetic surgery and their various body performatives in terms of normativity and agency. By comparing global and local perspectives, I argue that media sensationalizes the agent/victim binary in order to sell plastic and cosmetic surgeries, as well as related texts. The local stories serve to counter assumptions about the role of power in plastic surgery, revealing a far more complicated relationship between clients, rhetoric, and the reasons behind their surgeries; the agent/victim binary that is emphasized in mass media fails to capture lived experience and creates a detrimental rhetoric of empowerment.
Type:
text; Electronic Dissertation
Keywords:
Cosmetic Surgery; Materialist Rhetoric; Media; Plastic Surgery; Rhetoric, Composition & the Teaching of English; Body; Composition
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Graduate College; Rhetoric, Composition & the Teaching of English
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Kimme Hea, Amy

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoenen_US
dc.titlePerforming Perfection: Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery and the Rhetorical Bodyen_US
dc.creatorHarris-Moore, Deborah Roseen_US
dc.contributor.authorHarris-Moore, Deborah Roseen_US
dc.date.issued2011en
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.releaseDissertation Not Available (per Author's Request)en_US
dc.description.abstractWhile there is a long history of rhetorical studies that focus on oral and written discourses, the relatively recent trend of studying rhetorical images, materiality, and rhetorical bodies presents a shift toward an expanded perspective on what constitutes texts and what can be considered rhetorical. The study of bodies as rhetorical texts prompts the questions of how language is material and visual in nature. In my dissertation I examine the relationship between rhetoric and the body through Judith Butler's theories of materiality and performativity. Using Butler's theories of performance as a lens, I analyze the rhetoric of plastic and cosmetic surgery and demonstrate the role of performance in the perpetuation of and response to rhetoric of the body. Cosmetic and plastic surgery are performatives in that they not only confer a binding power on the action performed by altering the body through surgical and non-surgical means, but also initiate various citational practices within the field of medicine and in popular culture (through various mediums such as television, magazines, billboards, and websites). These procedures result in images and claims that authorize particular social expectations of beauty, youth, and sexuality.I examine a range of mass media texts related to cosmetic surgery (television shows, magazines, news clips, websites, and films) that portray different normative and deviant performativity of the body. In my research, I include interviews from volunteers in Los Angeles; my analysis involves local individuals' relationships to plastic and cosmetic surgery and their various body performatives in terms of normativity and agency. By comparing global and local perspectives, I argue that media sensationalizes the agent/victim binary in order to sell plastic and cosmetic surgeries, as well as related texts. The local stories serve to counter assumptions about the role of power in plastic surgery, revealing a far more complicated relationship between clients, rhetoric, and the reasons behind their surgeries; the agent/victim binary that is emphasized in mass media fails to capture lived experience and creates a detrimental rhetoric of empowerment.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen_US
dc.subjectCosmetic Surgeryen_US
dc.subjectMaterialist Rhetoricen_US
dc.subjectMediaen_US
dc.subjectPlastic Surgeryen_US
dc.subjectRhetoric, Composition & the Teaching of Englishen_US
dc.subjectBodyen_US
dc.subjectCompositionen_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineRhetoric, Composition & the Teaching of Englishen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorKimme Hea, Amyen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberHall, Anne-Marieen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberLicona, Adelaen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberKimme Hea, Amyen_US
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