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What comes to mind when you hear the words cosmetic surgery? The majority of the population would think of breast augmentations, liposuction, or rhinoplasties; but what about vaginal rejuvenation, labiaplasties, or pubic liposuction? In the United States, cosmetic surgery is undergoing a major cultural shift concerning the types of procedures done on women. Moving away from the outer, visible parts of a female body, cosmetic surgery is advancing to the inner and more private domains of a female body. Known as female genital cosmetic surgery (FGCS), these procedures are part of the larger cultural shift in the trends and practices women are choosing to have. Cosmetic surgery has been a part of Western society throughout history and has helped create and maintain the cultural standards and perceptions of feminine beauty. Accompanying these new trends in the field are certain negative implications not only for the women opting for the procedures, but for all women alike. I want to analyze what the normalization of these new cosmetic surgery procedures mean for women in the United States through an ethical and philosophical perspective and how they are being structured into the broader framework of contemporary society. In order to do so, the history of cosmetic surgery in the United States must first be understood.


Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies


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