Workshop 2: Reflections from Becki

Rebecca Nash is a PhD student at the Web Science Institute, University of Southampton. At the second Beauty Demands workshop, Becki presented a paper that explored the role of the web is sustaining beauty norms. Below are some of her reflections following the workshop. The third workshop will take place 14-15 October in Birmingham and will focus on the globalisation of beauty

I found the Beauty Demands workshop to be a fascinating, and helpfully multidisciplinary event which allowed me to engage with individuals from myriad professional backgrounds. It was an opportunity to hear perspectives on aesthetic surgery firsthand that I wouldn’t usually get the chance to listen to. Of particular interest to me were the presentations by surgeons Mark Henley and Chris Khoo – as I study aesthetic surgery from a sociological angle; surgical perspectives are often lost in a sea of issues to do with the contentious ethics of carrying out aesthetic procedures. It was novel to be able to hear clinical perspectives in and amongst law, psychology, sociology etc.

Furthermore, the particular theme that really engaged me were the two talks about female genital cosmetic surgery (FGCS) by Sarah Creighton, and Paquita de Zulueta. FGCS is an area of surgery that has grown immensely in popularity, particularly among young women, and is still fairly under-researched in the social sciences. Again, listening to talks from two clinical professionals provided an insight into the reasons women are enquiring about this type of surgery, and how these cases are dealt with within a medical sphere, as opposed to an elective cosmetic environment, raising questions about choice and necessity in aesthetic procedures.

In all, I found the two-day workshop incredibly helpful in regards to my ongoing PhD research, as well as highly engaging because of the broad range of research and clinical perspectives.

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