Dartmouth College Study Finds Cosmetic Surgery to Look Whiter Fails to Boost Women’s Self-Esteem

dartmouthLauren Gulbas, an assistant professor of anthropology at Dartmouth College, states that “Venezuelan national heritage prioritizes light skin and European features.” As a result, cosmetic surgery has become increasingly popular among women in Venezuela. Many women of African descent are undergoing rhinoplasty to make their noses slender to make their faces look more European.

But in a study of 63 women, 24 who had undergone a rhinoplasty and 39 who wanted to have one, Dr. Gulbas found that all the women of African descent believed that having a nose job would improve their self-esteem. But Dr. Gulbas found that “patients’ efforts to alter the nose reveal attempts to change not only how the body looks, but how it is lived. As a result, cosmetic surgery only acts as a stop-gap measure to heighten’s one’s self-esteem and body image.”

The article, “Embodying Racism: Race, Rhinoplasty, and Self-Esteem in Venezuela,” was published in the journal Qualitative Health Research and may be accessed here.


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