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Buying BeautyCosmetic Surgery in China$
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Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9789888139811

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888139811.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM HONG KONG SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.hongkong.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Hong Kong University Press, 2022. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in HKSO for personal use.date: 03 July 2022

“Being Good-Looking is Capital”

“Being Good-Looking is Capital”

(p.74) (p.75) 3 “Being Good-Looking is Capital”
Buying Beauty

Wen Hua

Hong Kong University Press

Since China launched its historic process of economic reform and opening up in the late 1970s, women have become vulnerable to the impact of economic restructuring on employment. This chapter focuses on the impact of economic transition and social transformation on women’s choices of cosmetic surgery. It explores why cosmetic surgery is widely considered as an “investment” to gain “beauty capital” among Chinese girls and women. In particular, it explores the phenomenon of Chinese high school and college students rushing to have cosmetic surgery over summer/winter holidays to get an edge in a tight job market.The obsession with female beauty in workplaces and in the marriage market is rooted in traditional Chinese gender norms, where women’s appearances are more emphasized than their ability and talents.

Keywords:   China, Cosmetic surgery, Beauty capital, Erotic capital, Physical capital, Job market, Job allocation system, Occupational gender segregation, Employment discrimination, Gender norms

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