Producing Beauty in Brazil: Vanity, Visibility and Social Inequality
2009 (English)In: Vibrant Virtual Brazilian Anthropology, ISSN 1809-4341, Vol. 6, no 1, 208-237 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Brazil is a country with one of the most unequal income distributions in the world. Even so, Brazilians’ preoccupation with the body and beauty is remarkably palpable and present in contemporary everyday life. The country occupies a leading position when it comes to cosmetic interventions and consumption of cosmetic products. Beautiful bodies are being produced, maintained and cared for not only by plastic surgeons but also by the work of nurses, facial- and body-therapists, hairdressers, manicurists, pedicurists, maids, sellers of beauty products and of an enormous variety of treatments that combine grooming with caring. In this article, I argue that the context of social inequality that so pervasively characterizes Brazilian society sets the stage for the production of bodies and beauty. By focusing on the ways women, acting from distinct socioeconomic contexts, relate to and participate in the production of beautiful bodies, I explore the dynamic entanglements of beauty, vanity, visibility and social inequality. As will be shown, different forms of body work are used to gain visibility and to stress and/or erase social differences.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 6, no 1, 208-237 p.
Brazil, bodies, beauty workers, social inequality, vanity, visibility
Research subject Social Anthropology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-40076OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-40076DiVA: diva2:322530
ProjectsBeneath the Surface, We’re all alike – Social Inequality, Bodies and Physical Interventions among Low-income and Middle-class Women in Brazil
FunderSwedish Research Council, 421-2005-819