THE POLITICS OF FEMALE BEAUTY IN BRAZIL: AN INTERSECTIONAL STUDY OF RHINOPLASTY OF THE NARIZ NEGROIDE

  • Carole Myers

Student thesis: Phd

Abstract

This thesis discusses the phenomenon of the consumption rhinoplasty of the “nariz negroide” to examine the politics of race and beauty. In the early 2000s, consumption of rhinoplasty of the “nariz negroide” increased with the ascension of a new Brazilian middle class, many of whom were women from non-white backgrounds. The thesis examines a disrupting of new spaces of consumption 2017-19, allowing us to reflect the wider politics of beauty interplaying with the lived experiences of this new group of consumers. Furthermore, this emerging market has challenged a pervasive raciological discourse and practice in a cosmetic surgery industry that mobilises the influential and resilient discourse of mestiçagem that has traditionally occluded racial identities based on a “colour blind” Brazilian conviviality. This thesis asks how the cultural constructions of rhinoplasty of the nariz negroide in Brazil can be understood intersectionally through prisms of race, class and gender. In theoretical terms, the thesis is shaped by Paul Gilroy’s formulations of raciology and conviviality, which this thesis argues are in dynamic interaction whereby longstanding Brazilian raciological discourses of beauty, evident in the practice and promotion of rhinoplasty, are negotiated by new consumers who self-fashion their own beauty without necessarily having recourse to such raciologies, primarily based on an appeal to the convivial discourse of mesticagem. Methodologically, the research involved semi-structured face-to-face interviews, online questionnaires, focus groups and social media analysis. Rhinoplasty surgeons, women who had or wanted rhinoplasty, Black female activists and bloggers took part in this study. Previous studies have suggested that this market reflects a “consumer citizen” (Alexander Edmonds, Pretty Modern, 2010) whereby individuals’ newfound middle class status would assist them to take up national identities and roles they were previously excluded from due to Brazil’s structural inequalities. Alternatively, a “cosmetic citizen” (Alvaro Jarrín, Biopolitics of Beauty, 2017) has been proposed, suggesting that a largely passive body of economically marginal non-white Brazilians are subject to a state-imposed set of aesthetic and racial hierarchies implemented through cosmetic surgery. The contribution of this thesis is to question these competing visions. Instead, the thesis highlights the heterogeneous experiences, motivations and identifications of the women involved. These consumers have displaced raciologised notions of beauty, instead self-fashioning a “morena nose” rooted in a complex negotiation between Brazilian languages of conviviality and multiculturalism.
Date of Award31 Dec 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorAngela De Souza Torresan (Supervisor) & Lucia Sa (Supervisor)

Keywords

  • class
  • intersectionality
  • markets
  • race
  • rhinoplasty
  • cosmetic surgery

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