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No longer raising eyebrows: The contexts and domestication of Botox as a mundane medical and cultural artefact


Journal of Consumer Culture

Published online on


Cosmetic enhancement technologies have been subject to extended sociological and feminist critique, but botulinum neurotoxins (Botox) have been sidelined in this discussion. This has occurred despite Botox’s popularity and accessibility as a non-surgical cosmetic procedure. While Botox shares many similarities with cosmetic enhancement technologies such as cosmetic surgery, we argue that the fields and the socio-spatial organisation of Botox – where Botox is performed and by whom, which we collectively call contextual Botox – not only differentiate it from other cosmetic enhancement technologies but expose how Botox has gone beyond normalisation to become hypernormalised, a domesticated, mundane technology that has largely disappeared into the flows and routines of everyday life. In addition, Botox is a distinct medical and social practice that is multifaceted, being determined by the contexts in which it is found and the forms of cultural capital therein. It is for these reasons, in addition to being the most popular form of cosmetic enhancement, that Botox should be critically scrutinised.