Honors Theses

Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Croft Institute for International Studies

First Advisor

Jeffrey Jackson

Relational Format



This paper explores the factors that influence women's decisions to undergo cosmetic procedures, including: globalization, westernization, patriarchy, empowerment, and endogenous factors. It specifically focuses on East Asia and Latin America focusing on South Korea, China, Brazil, and Argentina and offers a cross-cultural comparison between these regions and countries as well as between the world and the West. I compiled and analyzed data from the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS) 2011 annual report to create profiles of the most common cosmetic procedures performed for each region and country, and these profiles were then compared to one another. Through my research, I found that globalization has influenced the cosmetic surgery industry, but that this is not synonymous with a 'westernizing' of beauty ideals. My research also supported the conclusion that regional ideals of beauty more strongly influence women's decisions to undergo cosmetic procedures, and that the East Asian profiles show a homogenized regional ideal of beauty that women seek to achieve through cosmetic procedures.


A thesis presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for completion of the Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies from the Croft Institute for International Studies and the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College.

Included in

Sociology Commons



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