Special report: Frontiers of humanity
Cosmetic surgeons in the spotlightBy Janine Barbot, Isabelle Cailbault
This article is part of a series of research projects on the historical changes to the ways in which patients’ complaints are treated. Cosmetic surgery has always given rise to lively debate as to its legitimacy on the fringes of the dominant curative model. The evaluation of people using cosmetic surgery and the consideration of their complaints have been the object of intense analysis. This is the work that we have been examining, basing our work on a corpus of television programs broadcast between 1952 and 2008. From cosmetic surgery as a means of reducing social disabilities, to that of a means of self-accomplishment: the nature of what is defective in an individual, the identification of defects to be corrected and the ways in which they are objectivized have changed considerably. The article shows that it is the entire manner of contemplating the representation of victims "in" and then "of" cosmetic surgery and of constructing the cause which has thus been reorganized.