Suzanne Noël: Cosmetic Surgery, Feminism and Beauty in Early Twentieth-Century France, by Paula J. Martin, Georgia Southwestern State University, USA
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Working at the forefront of cosmetic surgery at the turn of the twentieth century, Dr Suzanne Noël was both a pioneer in her medical field and a firm believer in the advancement of women. Today her views on the benefits of aesthetic surgery to women may seem at odds with her feminist principles, but by placing Noël in the context of turn-of-the-century French culture, this book is able to demonstrate how these two worldviews were reconciled. Noël was able to combine her intense convictions for gender equality and anti-ageism in the workforce with her underlying compassion and concern for her female patients, during a time when there were no laws in place to protect women from workplace discrimination.
She was also responsible for several advances in cosmetic surgery, a thriving industry, and is today best known for her development of the mini facelift. This book, therefore, sheds much valuable light on advances in aesthetic surgery, twentieth-century beauty culture, women and the public sphere, and the ‘new woman’.
Paula J. Martin is Assistant Professor of History and Director of Women and Gender Studies at Georgia Southwestern State University, USA