"A rare and profound engagement with the culture and practice of feminine beauty in middle class Istanbul. Claudia Liebelt shows us that beauty is always political and grounded in the everyday relations."—Esra Özyürek, University of Cambridge
"A fine contribution to the debates about global beauty industry from an anthropological perspective based on a case study of beauty practices in Turkey."—Esra Özcan, author of Mainstreaming the Headscarf: Islamist Politics and Women in the Turkish Media
"This stunning book draws together a vast comparative scholarship in order to illuminate the anthropological and sociological implications of beauty practices and consumption in the lives of women in Istanbul."—Pnina Werbner, Keele University, UK
In the twenty-first century, the consumption of beauty services and cosmetic surgery in Turkey has developed from an elite phenomenon to an increasingly common practice, especially among younger and middle-aged women. Turkey now ranks among the top countries worldwide with the highest number of cosmetic procedures, and with its cultural and economic capital, Istanbul has become a regional center for the beauty and fashion industries. Istanbul Appearances illustrates the profound effects of this growing market on urban residents’ body images, gendered norms, and practices. Drawing upon extensive fieldwork carried out in beauty salons and clinics in different parts of the city, Liebelt explores how standards of femininity and female desire have shifted since the consolidation of power and authoritarian rule of the conservative, Islamic Justice and Development Party.
Arguing that the politics of beauty are intricately bound up with the politics of race, class, gender, and sexuality, Liebelt shows that female bodies have become a major site for the negotiation of citizenship. It is in the numerous beauty salons and clinics that heteronormative ideals and images of gendered bodies become real, embodied in a complex array of emotional desires of who and what is considered not only beautiful but also morally proper.
Claudia Liebelt is professor in social and cultural anthropology at the Free University of Berlin. She is the author of Caring for the ‘Holy Land’: Filipina Domestic Workers in Israel.
6 x 9, 344 pages, 8 color illustrations, 1 maps