The Rhetorical Making of the Asian/Asian American Face: Reading and Writing Asian Eyelids

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ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing

In The Rhetorical Making of the Asian/Asian American Face: Reading and Writing Asian Eyelids, I examine representations of East Asian blepharoplasty in online video in order to gain a sense of how cultural values change over time. Drawing on scholarship in and around rhetorical theory, cultural rhetorics, Asian American rhetoric, cultural studies, Asian American studies, and postcolonial theory alongside qualitative data analysis of approximately fifty videos and the numerous viewer comments that accompany them, this study is a rhetorical analysis of the discourse on East Asian blepharoplasty in online video. These videos--ranging from mass media excerpts and news reports, to journals of healing and recovery, to short lectures on surgeon techniques, to audience commentary--offer insight into how social time is negotiated in the cross-cultural public sphere of YouTube. I do my analysis in two steps, first looking at how rhetors rationalize the decision to get blepharoplasty, and second, examining the temporal logics that ground these rationalizations. As result, I've identified five tropes through which people rationalize double eyelid surgery: racialization, emotionologization, pragmatization, the split between nature and technology, and agency. Moreover, I've identified at least five temporal logics that ground these tropes: progress, hybridization, timelessness, efficiency, and desire. Using these two sets of findings I build a framework for the analysis, production and organization of multimodal representations of bodies.

Asian American rhetoric, cultural rhetorics, digital rhetoric, Asian American studies, language, literature and linguistics, social sciences, rhetorical theory, writing, multimodal composition