Flesh Wounds: The Culture of Cosmetic Surgery

Flesh Wounds: The Culture of Cosmetic Surgery

Flesh Wounds: The Culture of Cosmetic Surgery

Flesh Wounds: The Culture of Cosmetic Surgery


"An impressive book. An important book."--Jamie Lee Curtis

"I blame mirrors. If it weren't for them we wouldn't need plastic surgeons. In the meantime, anyone tempted to re-shape face, body and mind by means of knife should first read Blum's intelligent, persuasive and absorbing book. Both enticed and alarmed, the reader will at least know what she's doing and more importantly why. This is a book that takes you and shakes you by the throat, and leaves you the better for it."--Fay Weldon, author of "The Life and Loves of a She-Devil

"An eye-opening look at the dangers, both physical and emotional, of plastic surgery and of the power of beauty in all of our lives. Blum's book is an impressive interweaving of observation, oral interviews, cultural studies, and historical sources. An absorbing read, this is a scholarly book that general readers can enjoy."--Lois Banner, author of "American Beauty

"A provocative and thoroughly persuasive argument that we live in a culture of cosmetic surgery where identity,is sited on the shifting surfaces of the body. "Flesh Wounds brilliantly explores the link between the seductions of surgical self-fashioning and the star system, drawing on a stunning array of materials ranging from interviews with plastic surgeons, psychoanalytic theory, and the novel to the visual media of digital photography, film, and television."--Kathleen Woodward, author of "Aging and Its Discontents: Freud and Other Fictions


My first nose job was performed by an otolaryngologist (otherwise known as an ear, nose, and throat doctor) who, in concert with my mother, encouraged me to have surgery. Without consulting me, my mother made an appointment and then convinced me to go with her— just to see what he had to say. He had operated on the nose of a neighbor, and my mother liked her result.

Having a parent criticize a physical feature is a complicated emotional experience that induces both anger and guilt. You feel as though you have let the parent down. Why didn't you come out right? At the same time, the pervasive mythology of parent-child relations tells you that parents think their children are perfect, no matter what. From my mother's perspective, however, criticism of my nose didn't seem harmful because it wasn't permanent. Such problems could be resolved— fixed. Ballerina Allegra Kent writes about the nose job similarly imposed upon her by a mother invested in “conventional beauty” (79). “Allegra [said her mother], if you had a little more chin and a little less nose, you would be so much prettier” (78). And then: “Aren't you interested in a . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.