IKMAS Seminar Series 4/2020
Naratif Malaysia Lecture Series by Alka Menon
Constructing an Asian Look: Beauty Ideals and Cosmetic Surgery in Malaysia
Time: 10:30 AM -12:00 PM
Date: March 4, 2020
Venue: IKMAS Meeting Room, UKM, Bandar Baru Bangi
All are welcome
How do beauty ideals spread transnationally? This talk addresses the phenomenon of cultural globalization using the case of beauty ideals for cosmetic surgery in Malaysia. In it, I argue that Malaysian cosmetic surgeons balance and mediate between transnational beauty ideals and national tastes, producing embodied cosmetic surgery looks for individual patients. Malaysian cosmetic surgeons facilitate the spread of regional cultural forms from around Asia in selectively drawing on circulating beauty ideals in constructing different “looks” for their patients. This intermediary role has broader implications for how to think about the flow of ideas and concepts across national borders.
Alka Menon is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Yale University, where she is also a Research Fellow at the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies and member of the Yale Council on Southeast Asian Studies. Her research examines the effects of globalization and medical consumerism on physician authority and healthcare. Her work has been published in Ethnic and Racial Studies, Social Science & Medicine, and Poetics. Menon received her PhD in Sociology from Northwestern University in 2018.