Edmonds notes that surgery is not considered to be a correction or salve against the sagging of the years but a beauty treatment in its own right that is justified by a folk psychology of self-esteem.
Yet, such desires are not simply a matter of psychology. Brazil’s pop music and TV shows are filled with talk of a new kind of celebrity: the siliconada. These actresses and models pose in medical magazines, the mainstream women’s press, and Brazilian versions of Playboy, which are read (or viewed) by female consumers. Patients are on average younger than they were 20 years ago. They often request minor changes to become, as one surgeon said, “more perfect.”
The growth of plastic surgery thus reflects a new way of working not only on the suffering mind, but also on the erotic body. Unlike fashion’s embrace of playful dissimulation and seduction, this beauty practice instead insists on correcting precisely measured flaws. Plastic surgery may contribute to a biologized view of sex where pleasure and fantasy matter less than the anatomical “truth” of the bare body.