A renowned plastic surgeon, one of the few women practicing in this specialty, offers a provocative and inspirational approach to cosmetic surgery with the assertion that it can also change a woman's inner life and become part of a crucial and deeply meaningful rite of passage. Dr. Eskenazi, an expert on breast reconstruction after cancer, began her medical career believing that she would become a psychiatrist. Her interest in psychology combined with a lifelong study of art, mythology, and anthropology has given her an unusual window into the interior landscape of her patients. What she has found is that the desire for external transformation through surgery is connected to internal transformation, most particularly at key moments of transition in a woman's life. Although some eight million women a year have some sort of procedure done, cosmetic surgery is still identified with excessive vanity, narcissism, lack of authenticity, and psychological weakness with the path of least resistance being to deny having had it. By framing cosmetic surgery in a more deeply spiritual and psychological way, Eskenazi takes on this culture of shame and refutes the idea that cosmetic surgery and internal change are antithetical. Whether women decide to have cosmetic surgery or not, this book will provide them with a different vision and a context for understanding their decision.
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Loren Eskenazi is a well know American plastic surgeon. She received her medical training at Stanford University. Dr. Eskenazi has also founded the Institute for Transformational Surgery, dedicated to combining cross-cultural healing methods with state of the art plastic and reconstructive surgery.From Publishers Weekly:
San Francisco plastic surgeon Eskenazi denies that most of her female patients who undergo breast enlargements, face-lifts, liposuction and other cosmetic operations are insecure dupes of an ageist, "female-hating culture." Rather, cosmetic surgery is but a modern version of an ancient rite of passage that celebrates life stages by marking the flesh, thereby filling "the hole left in the fabric of our communal life by the loss of ritual." Like the ancient initiate, the modern patient leaves her identity behind as she strips off her street clothes, is purified by antibacterial scrubs, prostrates herself on the altar of the operating table, undergoes a death/rebirth sequence of anesthesia and wakes up to a body that is marked and transformed. To this end, Eskenazi's patients work with ritualists and psychotherapists, keep dream journals, build altars, practice meditation and create prayers to accompany surgery. Aided by Streep (Necessary Journeys), Eskenazi posits an interesting myth-infused approach that will be embraced by like-minded readers. Others will see this as preposterous New Age babble served up by a rationalizing doctor who wants to see herself as a shaman and her patients' desire for bigger breasts as a spiritual, high-minded quest. (Feb. 6)
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