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Accounting for Cosmetic Surgery: The Accomplishment of Gender

Diana Dull and Candace West
Social Problems
Vol. 38, No. 1 (Feb., 1991), pp. 54-70
DOI: 10.2307/800638
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/800638
Page Count: 17
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Accounting for Cosmetic Surgery: The Accomplishment of Gender
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Abstract

In this paper, we examine how surgeons who do cosmetic operations account for their activities and how people who elect such operations make sense of their decisions to do so. Our interviews with surgeons and former patients show that accounts of cosmetic surgery extend the definition of reconstructive procedures to include cosmetic ones. This definition is achieved simultaneously with the "accomplishment of gender," allowing surgeons and patients to see cosmetic surgery as "normal" and "natural" for a woman, but not for a man. Discussion of our findings leads us to consider how the creation of "good candidates" for surgery is related to gender's accomplishment.

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