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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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China’s Beauty Economy and Beauty Ideology

China’s Beauty Economy and Beauty Ideology

(p.147) 6 China’s Beauty Economy and Beauty Ideology
Buying Beauty

Wen Hua

Hong Kong University Press

Beauty is about economy; nevertheless, it is also about ideology. This chapter discusses the political implications of China’s booming beauty economy. A main driving force of cosmetic surgery in China is pragmatism. This pragmatism is not only produced by the instability of the transitional Chinese social structure, but is also channelled by the Chinese Communist Party’s pragmatic ideology as exemplified by its ”cat theory” and “xiaokang” concepts. It affects an individual’s choice to undergo cosmetic surgery and the state’s policy of developing its beauty industry. Moreover, using the Miss World competition and the ceremony hostesses of Beijing Olympics as examples, the author discusses how beautiful female bodies have been appropriated into a nationalist agenda in China. Female body image and alteration practices have become both a reflection of personal identity, and a site of ideological contestation, of which state power and market forces reconfigure their power structures to form a new bodily regime.

Keywords:   China, Cosmetic surgery, Beauty economy, Pragmatic ideology, Transition, Rhetoric of choice, Xiaokang, Beauty pageant, Ceremony hostess, Beijing Olympics

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