The Self and the
The analysis I have presented here challenges various attempts to understand and identify the subjectivity of the cosmetic surgery patient. I argue that the hermeneutics of the self around which cosmetic surgery culture turns are themselves expressions of power relations. In this chapter, I address the implications of this view for thinking about agency and the self in cosmetic surgery. I take up the problem of how we can know the self at all in the wake of the poststructural critique of subjectivity that I have applied here. I argue that we must decenter the subject of cosmetic surgery, without losing grasp on how central she is to its power relations. I offer my own story of having cosmetic surgery, in order to explore how we might approach the self of cosmetic surgery under these difficult epistemological circumstances.
The culture of cosmetic surgery can be understood as dominated by what Michel Foucault termed the