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Skin pedagogies and abject bodies

journal contribution
posted on 2011-06-01, 00:00 authored by J Kenway, Elizabeth Bullen
How does the beauty industry ‘narrate the skin’? What does it teach women from different cultural groups about the female body? How does skin function as a site where female subjection and abjection are produced and reproduced? In this paper we examine the skin industry pointing to its extreme commodification of the female body and to the inexcusable pressure this places on females of most age and cultural groups.We focus on two examples. Firstly, we show what the skin industry teaches girls and women about both their skin colour ‘problems’ and desirable practices of whitening and, secondarily, tanning. Secondly, we consider what the cosmetic surgery industry teaches us about female bodily ‘imperfections’ linked to certain ethnic and racial groups and the necessary ‘remedies’. Overall we show how the socio-cultural normalization of perfect skin is a product of a range of contemporary and enduring social and cultural forces overlain by complex pedagogies of power, expertise and affect.

History

Journal

Sport, education and society

Volume

16

Issue

3

Pagination

279 - 294

Publisher

Routledge

Location

Oxon, England

ISSN

1357-3322

eISSN

1470-1243

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal; C Journal article

Copyright notice

2011, Taylor & Francis