Women's magazines teem with its promises and horror stories. Feminists ardently debate its status as harmful or heroic. Surgeons and regulators compete to define which procedures can be offered and how. Through its representation, cosmetic surgery impacts on us all, not just those who go 'under the knife'. This book argues that gender and cosmetic surger are engaged in a complex process of mutual constitution. It traces three major themes in cosmetic surgery discourse; nature, agency and vanity, across four important discursive areas: women's magazines; feminist scholarship; medical sources and regulatory debate, to map the effects of this process of constitution.In conducting this enquiry, Cosmetic Surgery, Gender and Culture also questions contemporary cultural studies assumptions about how we read the media, offering new perspectives on issues such as the active reader and the polysemous properties of text.