Deracializing Asian Australia? Cosmetic surgery and the question of race in Australian television

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Abstract

© 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.Abstract: This paper examines the ways in which the discourse of ‘deracialization’ is consistently used in Australian media to posit the surgically modified Asian–Australian body as a site of national concern and anxiety. Through close readings of two major Australian factual television programmes on the topic of race and cosmetic surgery, we show how this discourse is deployed to uphold a form of somatic multiculturalism that continues to centre whiteness as the norm. It does so by failing to take into context social, cultural and historical differences when reading race onto the modified non-western and/or non-white body. Consequently, Asian–Australian subjects are allowed only two positions, namely, the ‘authentic’ (unmodified) body and the body that seeks to conform through undergoing surgery. Ultimately, we argue that this media approach demonstrates a lack of space in the national imaginary for popular representations of hybrid non-white subjects whose bodies and behaviours do not conform to monoracial notions of multiculturalism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397-407
JournalContinuum
Volume30
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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