Awakening Sleeping Beauty: Promises of Eternal Youth Packaged Through Scientific Innovation
smirnova, michelle hannah
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The definition of what constitutes "healthy" aging has recently experienced a shift in emphasis from internal to external components--especially for the white, affluent, heterosexual woman. The emergence of the skincare cosmeceutical industry and its attention to aging women's bodies raises questions about the discursive logics regarding health that both produce and are produced by modern aesthetic ideals and how they have produced this emergent aesthetic component of the "life-extension project." Similar to Nikolas Rose's (2001) "will to health", I propose that ideals of health, youth and beauty have become collapsed into a civic duty of this women--the "will to youth". A discourse analysis (124 cosmeceutical advertisements from More--a niche magazine directed at 40+ women), revealed how this industry constructs the aging woman's body as pathological by invoking the idea that the fairytale dreams of Sleeping Beauty and the fountain of youth may be realized through scientific innovations, most notably the cosmeceutical.