6_Medicalization and Racial Features - Kaw

6_Medicalization and Racial Features - Kaw - 78 MEDICAL...

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MEDICAL ANTHROPOLOGY QUARTERLY best and that this meant, in a certain sense, less stereotypically Asian. Even those who stated that their decision to alter their features was personal, based on indi- vidual aesthetic preference, also expressed hope that their new appearance would help them in such matters as getting a date, securing a mate, or getting a better job. For the women in my study, the decision to undergo cosmetic surgery was never purely or mainly for aesthetic purposes, but almost always for improving their social status as women who are racial minorities. Cosmetic surgery is a means by which they hope to acquire "symbolic capital" (Bourdieu 1984 [1979]) in the form of a look that holds more prestige. For example, "Jane," who under- went double-eyelid and nose-bridge procedures at the ages of 16 and 17, said that she thought she should get her surgeries "out of the way" at an early age since as a college student she has to think about careers ahead: Especially if you go into
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