Refashioning Race: How Global Cosmetic Surgery Crafts New Beauty Standards

University of California Press (2023)

Cosmetic surgery was once associated with a one-size-fits-all approach, modifying patients to conform to a single standard of beauty. As this surgery has become more accessible worldwide, changing beauty trends have led to a proliferation of beauty standards for members of different racial groups. Alka V. Menon enters the world of cosmetic surgeons, journeying from a sprawling convention center in Kyoto to boutique clinics in the multicultural countries of the United States and Malaysia. She shows how surgeons generate and apply knowledge using racial categories and how this process is affected by transnational clinical and economic exchanges. Surgeons not only measure and organize but also elaborate upon racial differences in a globalized field of medicine. Focusing on the role of cosmetic surgeons as gatekeepers and producers of desired appearances, Refashioning Race argues that cosmetic surgeons literally reshape race—both on patients’ bodies and at the broader level of culture.

Visit the publisher’s website (here) to review the table of contents, and recommend your library buy it. ​​


Jun Zhou, Sociology of Race and Ethnicity

Joselyn Quiroz, ASA Culture Section newsletter

@nehaxstitch, Brown Girl Bookshelf

Interviews and Podcasts

New Books Network Podcast with Miranda Melcher

Q&A with Zheng Fu, ASA Science, Knowledge, and Technology (SKAT) Section newsletter

Q&A with ALOK on Instagram (@alokvmenon)


The Zoe Report, “The Nose Job that Defies Western Ideals of beauty”

Yale News, “Beauty standards: How cosmetic surgeons are ‘refashioning’ race”