Reshaping god's body: Mormonism and breast augmentation




Dalton, Kimberly Ann

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This study advances scholarship on religious identity and women's experiences with cosmetic surgery. To this end, I examine Latter-day Saint (LDS, Mormon) debates about elective breast augmentation surgery, as well as LDS women's motivations and experiences concerning this cosmetic procedure. Mormon debates over the body, and more specifically breast augmentation, were captured through textual analyses of LDS blogs that serve as discussion forums about this controversial surgical procedure. The results of the blog analyses reveal how Mormons formulate arguments for and against breast augmentation. I discuss the contours of each of these perspectives while analyzing theological rationales that underpin them. This textual analysis is complemented by qualitative life history interviews with three LDS women who have undergone elective breast augmentation surgery. These interviews demonstrate how women strategically compartmentalize and disembody their religious convictions while also locating decisions for breast augmentation in the scope of current cultural trends and their biographical trajectory. The study concludes with a specification of implications, limitations, and directions for future research.


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Social structure, Religion