Slim Arms, Waist, Thighs and Hips, but Not the Breasts: Portrayal of Female Body Image in Hong Kong’s Magazine Advertisements

  • May Wong


This chapter examines slimming and breast-enhancing magazine advertisements produced by the burgeoning industry of beauty parlours in Hong Kong. Typically, these advertisements configure the human body as a physical resource amenable to extreme makeovers. By displaying before-and-after pictures of female celebrities who are hailed as their ‘spokespersons’, the beauty centres advertise the potential to modify female bodies to match an idealised mental image. The visual semiotic framework of Gunther Kress and Theo van Leeuwen (Reading images: The grammar of visual design. London and New York: Routledge, 2006) is employed to reveal this act of manipulation of perceived body image. Specifically, this chapter addresses how the choreography of image and text operates in a social and cultural climate that increasingly values thinness and ample breasts, and how this climate concurrently normalises intervention in physical appearance.


Magazine advertisements Slimming Breast augmentation Beauty Female body image 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • May Wong
    • 1
  1. 1.School of EnglishUniversity of Hong KongPok Fu LamHong Kong

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