Is the beauty therapist a health professional?

Black, Paula (2003) Is the beauty therapist a health professional? In: 6th Conference of the European Sociological Association, 23-26 Sept 2003, Murcia, Spain.

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Abstract

Beauty therapists make claims about their own status in relation to medical professionals. They frequently compare themselves to nurses in the level of training they receive and in the types of duties they perform. Drawing upon qualitative research with beauty therapists and their clients, this paper will examine the overlap between beauty therapy and the health profession. Beauty therapy lies at the inter-section of practices and discourses relating to notions of well being. Here it is examined for its role in widening notions of health, away from absence of illness, and towards a more generalised sense of well being. This discourse of well being is linked to the concept of 'lifestyle' and I interrogate the extent to which the notion of a 'healthy lifestyle' is classed and gendered. The issue of to what extent the medical and 'beauty' professions are inter-dependent will also be addressed. The beauty therapist is aware that although most of her business comes from 'looking' treatments (leg waxing, eye brow shaping, manicures), in order to boost her own professional status, she must draw upon a discourse of 'feeling' treatments (massage, reflexology). This tension affects the professional status of the beauty therapist, disagreements within the industry as a whole, and the every day working life of the therapist. Key words: beauty therapy; professional status; health; well-being; lifestyle

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Sociology
Depositing User: EPrints Services
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 20:03
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2012 09:46
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/23782
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