Feminization, stigma and the facial gender: the moral construction of the female gender through facial feminization surgeries for transgender women

Authors

  • Aureliano Lopes da Silva Junior Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro; Laboratório Integrado em Diversidade Sexual e de Gênero, Políticas e Direitos

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1590/s0104-12902018170771

Keywords:

Plastic Surgeries, Facial Feminization, Transsexuality, Travesti, Stigma

Abstract

The objective of this article is to analyze gender discourses constructed around the so-called facial feminization surgeries, both by the scientific biomedical discourse and by clinics offering such procedures, which became very popular among transgender women. From a bibliographical survey made on the Google Scholar website, I present an initial analysis of scientific biomedical articles that seek to construct an idea of gender - or a gender identification - through the set of facial features. This biomedical literature provides the bases from which professionals and medical clinics will construct discourses and practices on the “need” and, consequently, the desire of this type of intervention for transgender women. Then, I analyze how this discourse is embodied in the description and technique of the surgical procedures of the so-called facial feminization from the ethnographic material of a doctoral thesis on “Miss T Brasil”, a beauty pageant for transgender women. The results shows that both the biomedical knowledge and the practices surrounding such surgeries are based on the ideals that constitute a “naturalness” in facial features and the preservation of a recognized personal identity. A certain femininity for transgender women is thus constructed and made visible, which seems to correspond to personal desires to achieve a normatively and socially accepted feminine ideal, as it promotes the concealment of a stigma by allowing them to “pass” as a woman in an ordinary social relation.

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Published

2018-06-01

How to Cite

Silva Junior, A. L. da. (2018). Feminization, stigma and the facial gender: the moral construction of the female gender through facial feminization surgeries for transgender women. Saúde E Sociedade, 27(2), 464-480. https://doi.org/10.1590/s0104-12902018170771

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Section

Articles