Foucault's The History Of Sexuality

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Foucault Sex is natural, it is how we reproduce, repopulate and engage in pleasure. In today’s society sex sells, it’s intriguing and alluring. Music, television, and literature have all been dominated by there hyper sexualization of its content. Dominated by mass communications our society is controlled by this idea of sexuality. It determines how people look at themselves, how we look at each other and how our society looks at numerous things around us. Sexuality holds a certain type of power over our society. Yet and still it is considered inappropriate and shameful to discuss or partake in sexual activity openly. This being the case brings to question why it’s inappropriate and shameful. Creating curiosity which then increases the search…show more content…
Stating that in the 18th century, with the rise of the bourgeoisie, sexual activity as a pleasurable experience was frowned upon. Seen as a waste of energy, sex became privatized only to take place between husband and wife for the purpose of reproduction. This put sex under the discourse of marriage not to be spoken outside of that. In essence, the hypothesis is saying that power (the bourgeoisie) is exerted to keep sex a secret confined to the discourse of marriage. However, Foucault disagrees with hypothesis stating that power is exercised to bring sex into discourse. “The society that emerged in the nineteenth century-bourgeois,capitalist or industrial society,call it what you will- did not confront sexuality with a fundamental refusal of recognition. On the contrary, it put into operation an entire machinery for producing true discourses concerning it.” (Foucualt, ) Foucault refutes the hypothesis, labeling marriage and the hypothesis itself as a discourse. Agreeing within the Repressive Hypothesis that the open attitudes toward sex have been repressed; Foucault disagrees with…show more content…
For Foucault, the same concept applies with sex; as time progressed sex became something studied explaining human interaction and behavior. It became a source of knowledge opening doors for numerous discourses to appear. Sex originally being looked at as the do’s and don’t’s within marriage, the discourse shifted to what Foucault calls “Sexual Perversion”. These were broken down into six different discourses on sex: legal, economic, education/pedagogy, religion, interpersonal and medical. With greater attention paid to these discourses of sex, Foucault concludes that there is a “will to knowledge.” Foucault’s development of these discourses made it very hard for the Repressive Hypothesis to stand. Associating the change in discourse solely with the rise of the bourgeoisie, there was no explanation for the appearance of the other discourses. Foucault relates this appearance to the increase of knowledge at the time connecting it to power. Restating what is now a popular saying, “Knowledge is Power.” (Francis

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