American Plastic by Laurie Essig
Boob Jobs, Credit Cards, and the Quest for Perfection

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Synopsis

The riveting story of how cosmetic surgery and plastic money melted together to create a subprime mortgage crisis of the body    
 
Plastic surgery has become “the answer” for many Americans, and in American Plastic sociologist Laurie Essig explores how we arrived at this particular solution. Over the last decade there has been a 465 percent increase in cosmetic work, and we now spend over $12 billion annually on procedures like liposuction, face-lifts, tummy tucks, and boob jobs. In this fascinating book, Essig argues that this transformation is the result of massive shifts in both our culture and our economy—a perfect storm of greed, desire, and technology.
 
Plastic is crucial to who we are as Americans, Essig observes. We not only pioneered plastic money but lead the world in our willingness to use it. It’s estimated that 30 percent of plastic surgery patients earn less than $30,000 a year; another 41 percent earn less than $60,000. And since the average cost of cosmetic work is $8,000, a staggering 85 percent of patients assume debt to get work done. Using plastic surgery as a lens on better understanding our society, Essig shows how access to credit, medical advances, and the pressures from an image- and youth-obsessed culture have led to an unprecedented desire to “fix” ourselves.
 

About Laurie Essig

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Laurie Essig teaches sociology at Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont. She has written for a variety of publications, including Legal Affairs, Salon, and the Chronicle of Higher Education. Essig's blog, Class Warfare, at True/Slant, applies critical theory from the classroom to the news of the day.
 
Published December 28, 2010 by Beacon Press. 240 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, Health, Fitness & Dieting, Political & Social Sciences, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

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Publishers Weekly

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Essig, assistant professor of sociology at Middlebury College, argues that our national obsession with plastic money and plastic surgery is more than a cultural fad; it's a capitalist conspiracy engin

Oct 11 2010 | Read Full Review of American Plastic: Boob Jobs, ...

New York Journal of Books

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“It is part of the radical insecurity we now have a work and at home .

Dec 28 2010 | Read Full Review of American Plastic: Boob Jobs, ...

New York Journal of Books

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“It is part of the radical insecurity we now have a work and at home .

Dec 28 2010 | Read Full Review of American Plastic: Boob Jobs, ...

Business Week

In 2009, Americans spent about $10.5 billion on plastic surgery, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.

Jan 13 2011 | Read Full Review of American Plastic: Boob Jobs, ...

Spirituality & Practice

Now that thousands of baby boomers are turning 65 every day, plastic surgery as a stay against aging by a generation known for being youth-obsessed will lead to even more success for this burgeoning industry.

Sep 13 2014 | Read Full Review of American Plastic: Boob Jobs, ...

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