Body modifications made with an eye towards attaining ‘beauty’ have been the subject of much debate by social scientists. Facing the tendency to judge beauty practices as an expression of superficiality, vanity or social ‘oppression’, this paper aims to approach aesthetic treatments in recognising their inherent complexity.
First of all, I display an original perspective on these practices based on the theory of anthropo-poiesis, the theoretical mark proposed by the cultural anthropologist Francesco Remotti. As inferred by this author, concern with beauty can be read symbolically as an effort to grant subjects to pass into ontological categories of ‘human-beingness’. In this regard, aesthetic procedures are demanded to resolve the feeling of ‘incompleteness’ or to face a condition of social marginality. Through the presentation of two field cases, the ‘psycho-socio-aesthetics’ and the ‘humanitarian cosmetic surgery’, I propose to focus the viewpoint of beauty practitioners who agree in considering aesthetic enhancements as their cathartic objectives to evacuate uneasiness and suffering. In consequence, I argue that aesthetic treatments should be recognised as practices of well-being, since their aim is to enhance user’s psychological and social life. Lastly, I affirm the need to value ethics as a complementary skill to individuate appropriate conditions into which practices of beauty-care should take place.
Key Words: Aesthetic treatments, beauty, anthropo-poiesis, psycho-socioaesthetics, humanitarian cosmetic surgery, beauty-care, self-improvement, ethics. READ ARTICLE