Foucault Power Dynamics Analysis

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This eight section article outlines the general patterns Michel Foucault uses to explain femininity and the modernization of power dynamics. The works goes through describing the disciplinary practices modern societies use to construct femininity and how this inflicts an inferior status on those being targeted. This power dynamic aims at regulation which is perpetual and exhaustive. The disciplines described in this piece are the ways in which society boxes women. These concepts are created to target women and submit them into working towards achieving an unattainable standard of beauty. Bartky begins by describing Foucault’s comparison of how prisons seem to be the model for schools, hospitals, and factories to describe the way this new discipline…show more content…
The current ideal for feminine bodily perfection is reflective of cultural obsessions, currently this lies in achieving and maintaining an adolescent-like silhouette. The societal pressures now enforced on women, more than ever through the use of social media, implies the expectation to have no body fat. This has led an exorbitant amount of woman and girls to become diagnosed with eating disorders. More women than men are joining weight watching groups or support groups for their over eating habits. There is now also the cultural idea of “spot-reducing”, targeting specific areas to reduce or enhance, specifically the butt, boobs, or stomach. While this may seem as though it eases the burdens of achieving femininity it raises expectations and punishes women for naturally having fat. This almost willing obedience to feminine requirements draws a fine line between what one does for themselves and what they do to abide by these gender norms.
Another gender norm that faces women is how every aspect of femininity is analyzed, scrutinized, and restricted down to the way women sit and walk. Women are expected to maintain an air of constriction, grace, and modest eroticism all at once but they are not allowed to take up space. They must remain small and non-threatening to male dominance. It is as if women are encapsulated to a tiny box. If she tries to break free from this space, she is labeled as a “loose woman” in reference to
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Because of this dynamic, the impression is given that these disciplines are completely voluntary, or that they are natural. This dual sided argument is formed because women willingly undergo these painful transformations in an attempt to meet these standards, but they do so because the society around them is aimed at creating submissive and obedient arm candy for men. This presents what Bartky calls the “subjected and practiced”, a body that is inferior to another. This essentially is the idea that women are constantly subjected to these disciplines, like wearing makeup or being told they need to be skinny, that it makes the process of achieving this standard almost become second nature. The inferiority they face is a constant reminder that they must push to achieve these standards set on them by the

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