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Showing posts from January, 2016

Should We Bring Pubic Hair Back? - By Francesca Minerva

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In this post, Francesca Minerva considers the increased demand for labiaplasty and wonders if it may be a result of modern trends in relation to body hair.



The number of surgical cosmetic interventions on female genitals has increased at an impressive rate over the last years. According to the American Association for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, in 2013 5,070 labiaplasty interventions were performed, a remarkable 44% increase compared to the previous year. Such interventions are sometimes performed for medical reasons, for instance on women who experience discomfort during sex because of the size of their labia or for other issues related to congenital abnormalities of the labia. The UK National Health System, for instance, provides free labiaplasty under the following circumstances:
“there is a lot of damage to the woman's labia after she recently gave birth; the labia are particularly large and causing a lot of pain or discomfort; the labia are contributing towards a disease or inf…

Are cosmetic procedures routine, or extreme? Nuffield Council Launches Online Survey on Cosmetic Procedures

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Our partners, the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, have launched an online survey which links directly to the work of the Beauty Demands project and the topic of our 4th workshop. They are keen to hear from anyone who has views on the ethical and societal issues pertaining to cosmetic surgery and non surgical procedures:



"Demand for cosmetic procedures is growing, both in the UK and internationally. Around 90% of those undergoing procedures are women and breast augmentation and liposuction are amongst the most popular procedures. Existing research into what motivates people to undertake cosmetic procedures has highlighted both societal factors such as the pressure to look young and attractive, media and celebrity influences, and personal factors such as body dissatisfaction, self-esteem, teasing, and the experiences of family and friends.

The Council wants to find out more about what influences people’s attitudes to cosmetic procedures and their decisions to seek and undergo treatmen…

Virtue of the Mind and Virtues of the Body (Part Two) - Adina Covaci

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In the second of two posts, Doctoral Researcher Adina Covaci (University of Leeds) discusses a perceived asymmetry between the cultivation of virtue as it pertains to the mind and what she calls "virtues of the body".

In my last post, I wondered why there appears to be an asymmetry between the degree to which we value virtues of the mind in comparison to virtues of the body (for example, cultivating beauty). I have yet to do a thorough research on the topic yet, but some possible explanations do come to mind. First of all, it is likely that all this is an unfortunate consequence of living in a society that has been sexist for too long. The category of outer beauty has been separated as something which exists on its own, unconnected with any other kind of virtue, because it has been thought that it is virtually impossible that a woman could be beautiful AND intelligent, creative, talented etc. Physical beauty has become this unsubstantiated quality, and anyone who spends one’…

Virtue of the Mind and Virtues of the Body - Adina Covaci

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In the first of two posts, Doctoral Researcher Adina Covaci (University of Leeds) discusses a perceived asymmetry between the cultivation of virtue as it pertains to the mind and what she calls "virtues of the body".


My main research around the topic of beauty has been done, so far, from an ethical point of view. Specifically, I have questioned the morality of the process of the globalisation of beauty norms. Long story short, I have argued that it is an unethical process because it can be seen as a form of propaganda. However, some very interesting discussions that I have had while participating in the third Beauty Demands workshop have made me go a step further and think about more fundamental issues. If the globalisation of beauty did not have the form that it has, and if each of us who want to reach certain standards did so freely and completely un-manipulated, would there be anything ethically suspicious about that? We don’t even need to talk about the global scale; in…