This paper discusses how gender and science are represented in the advertisements of a newly emerging industry called shuoshen meirong gongsi 塑身美容公司 (body sculpturing beauty salons). Unlike traditional fat reducing business for women, this new industry emphasizes not only reducing body fat, but also creating a standard and attractive female body which acts as a decoy in heterosexual social life. To achieve this goal, “scientific instruments” as well as scientific authority are mobilized to establish the features of a standard female body and to enhance the effectiveness of body sculpturing.
This paper first compares the differences between the shuoshen meirong advertisements and traditional advertisements that treat the female body as an object. It then examines how female subjectivity is shaped in this kind of advertisements via an appropriation of feminism, emphasizing women as active social agents. The authority of science is then grafted on to various cosmetic practices which transform women into the Subject while turning them into an object of heterosexual desire. The authority of modern science and technology underpins the practices of shuoshen meirong and models the body of Taiwanese women into one standard in a consuming society which consumes not only objects but also the Subject.