Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Bartky "Foucault, Femininity, and the Modernization of Patriarchal Power."

In this essay, Bartky describes how power is internalized by our bodies and uses Foucault's idea of the panopticon to help. Foucault described how institutions shape our lives and internalize power by controlling our bodies. These institutions, like schools, the military, factories, etc..., also control our bodies' time and space. Bartky argues that modern technology can not only control our bodies now, but our minds as well. The subject will begin to police herself because she knows there is a certain type of mental control over her. Bartky argues that there are disciplinary principles that produce feminine bodies. These feminine bodies are created by males.  "A panoptical male connoisseur resides within the consciousness of most women: they stand perpetually before his gaze and under his judgment.  Woman lives her body as seen by another, by an anonymous patriarchal Other."There are three practices of this mental control  on females: Size and configuration of the body, body comportment, and additions to the body. Technology, like the media, tell the subjects that they are inferior and thus have to change their body image, how they walk, and add additions to the body, like makeup and jewelry, to meet society's (men's) standards. I agree with Bartky's point that men define women. Many women dress up and look nice for men and go further than men do. Women always do their hair and makeup regardless of where they go out. It's acceptable for men not only to not do their hair, but to not look nice either. If a woman goes to the store with no makeup, messy hair, and sweats and a sports bra, she will be looked at and ridiculed. If a man went to the store with messy hair, unshaved, with sweats and a t-shirt, it would be normal.

1 comment:

  1. Anthony,

    Excellent job: really well summarized and thoughtful. In my experience, women these days have more latitude to dress sloppily/casually than they used to though, maybe as much as men.