alexa Representations of cosmetic surgery and emotional health in women’s magazines in Canada
Social & Political Sciences

Social & Political Sciences

Journal of Mass Communication & Journalism

Author(s): Andrea N Polonijo, Richard M Carpiano

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Objective This research examines how popular women's magazines portray cosmetic surgery and associated emotional health. Methods Articles regarding cosmetic surgery were coded from the top five most circulated English-language women's magazines in Canada between 2002 and 2006 for type of procedure, patient demographics, risk information, and indicators of emotional health. Content analysis techniques were used to identify patterns of portraying the risks and benefits of cosmetic surgery. Results Content analyses show the articles tend to present readers with detailed physical health risk information. However, 48% of articles discuss the impact that cosmetic surgery has on emotional health, most often linking cosmetic surgery with enhanced emotional well-being regardless of the patient's pre-existing state of emotional health. The articles also tend to use accounts given by males to provide defining standards of female attractiveness. Conclusion These findings are consistent with arguments in the research literature that women's magazines contribute to the medicalization of the female body. Cosmetic surgery is generally portrayed as a risky—but worthwhile—option for women to enhance both their physical appearance and emotional health. The implications for future research and public education strategies are discussed.

This article was published in Women’s Health Issues and referenced in Journal of Mass Communication & Journalism

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