Busted Halo

In Virtue/Vice, Dr. Christine B. Whelan blogs about news, books, scientific and psychological research and her general musings about virtue and vice in our everyday lives.


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September 28th, 2010

Homogenized Beauty


homogenized-beauty-flash2“If everybody looked the same, we’d get tired of looking at each other,” sang Groove Armada. Are we in danger of that happening?

Photographer Zed Nelson thinks so. In a series of photographs, he documents what he sees as a world-wide spike in plastic surgery to make everyone look alike.

He told The New York Times:

“Globalization hasn’t just given us Starbucks in Beijing and shopping malls in Africa… It is also creating an eerily homogenized look.”

“The worldwide pursuit of body improvement has become like a new religion… I imagined the project in some way like a body of evidence, perhaps for a future generation, to see a point in history where the abnormal became normal, or at least normalized.”

Might our nearly pathological will to “improve” ourselves – through self-help, through surgery, through diets – be reaching a fever pitch?

Maybe. But what isn’t mentioned in this discussion is money: Only those wealthy enough to afford improvement procedures can have them, leaving the vast majority of the population further marked – in an increasingly visible way – by their lack of resources. So, the better question is: Will the affluent of the world all begin to look the same?

The Author : Christine B. Whelan
Dr. Christine B. Whelan is an author, professor and speaker. She and her husband, Peter, and their dictator cats, Chairman Meow and Evita Purron, live in Pittsburgh. Her book "Why Smart Men Marry Smart Women" is available in stores or at the Halo Store.
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