Makeover Culture's Dark Side: Breasts, Death and Lolo Ferrari

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Journal Article
Body & Society, 2008, 14 (1), pp. 89 - 104
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The word 'makeover' is dotted through popular culture and is applied to a range of activities including home renovation, gardening, urban renewal and business invigoration. Makeover culture is part of a sociocultural paradigm that values endless improving, renovating and rejuvenating. Makeover citizens enact urgent and never-ending renovations of the self. Cosmetic surgery is both symptom and manufacturer of makeover culture. It is indicative and constitutive of an arena in which ideal objects and subjects are always being improved, and in which everything including the body is always ripe for enhancement. This article focuses on the 1990s French pornography star, Lolo Ferrari. Two aspects of Ferrari's famous cosmetic surgery are examined. They indicate a darker side of makeover culture one that is less about lifestyle and surface gloss and more about pornography, death and unconsciousness. The first is her breasts, which I examine in relation to gigantism and normalized notions of femininity, and as symbols of the transition from girl to woman. The second is Ferrari' s striking declaration that she loved being under anaesthetic. I delve into this notion to discuss how immobility, stasis, decay and mortality are crucial parts of makeover culture's promises of transformation. © 2008 Sage Publications.
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