I Did it For Me: Negotiating identity and agency

L Pecot-Hebert, H Hennink-Kaminski


Scholars have debated the feminist critique of female beauty practices for years with the fundamental disagreement revolving around the notion of “agency.” This study used textual analysis to explore how the concept of “agency” has been employed in cosmetic surgery ads placed in large city magazines.   Three themes emerged: realize your potential, pleasing yourself, and control your destiny.  This research expands our understanding of how physicians are repositioning cosmetic surgery to women through discourses that empower, appeal to their sense of self, and play upon feminist sensibilities that privilege individual choice. This research also contributes to the literature surrounding the ongoing debate of agency by examining how it plays out in another form of text previously unexamined (physician advertising) and how it touches upon a new player in the health beauty system (physicians) rather than prior studies, which focus on idealized images in the media.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/hcs.2012.88


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