Push-up bras, platitudes, and porn stars: How teens navigate parental resistance to cosmetic surgery
Glann, Sarah M.
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This study explores the intrapersonal negotiations between parents and teenagers seeking emotional, legal, and financial support for cosmetic surgery. My analysis is based on retrospective interviews with thirteen college students who had cosmetic surgery as teenagers. Findings show that parents typically delayed giving consent for cosmetic surgery until the teen was perceived as older and more mature. Parents used a variety of tactics to postpone consideration of surgery including suggesting temporary alternatives, engaging in platitudes and dismissals of teens' expressions of unhappiness, and demonstrating explicit disapproval for cosmetic surgery. Teenagers overcame these strategies by invoking the help of neutral third parties and telling sad tales about their unhappiness with their bodies. I conclude with a discussion of the implications of my findings for research on family, adolescents, the life course, and cosmetic surgery.