The Medicalization of Ugliness - The history of Western scientific and philosophical thought with regard to the human body is marked by a fascination for establishing the parameters of an ideal body shape. During the nineteenth century physiognomy and cosmetic surgery both took inspiration from the illusion of perfect geometrization of the body and its parameterization. The legitimation of cosmetic surgery, in particular, was based on the medicalization of deviations from ideal forms (normal and normative at the same time) of the body, producing the body as an object operable in potentia. This still occurs today particularly in physician-patient interactions and in media discourse. Through an analysis of cosmetic surgery texts (produced respectively by the most important Italian society for plastic surgery, a clinic and a handbook of cosmetic plastic surgery for surgeons) repertoires reading physical appearance through the lenses of normality and pathology are investigated. Based on a qualitative survey of plastic surgeons, the inertia encountered by the process of medicalization of ugliness in everyday practice is discussed.
Keywords: cosmetic surgery, medicalization, social costruction of the body, ugliness, normalization
Parole chiave: chirurgia estetica, medicalizzazione, costruzione sociale del corpo, bruttezza, normalizzazione