Essay about Analysis of Susan Bordo's The Male Body

Essay about Analysis of Susan Bordo's The Male Body

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As you begin Beauty (Re) discovers the Male Body your read of author Susan Bordo spilling her morning coffee over a shockingly sexual advisement of a nude man. Initially, I rolled my eyes and settled in assuming, I was going to read about the tragedy of how men are now being objectified and exposed in adverting like women. As I flip through the pages looking at the scantily clad images I’m not really shocked; this essay was written fifteen years ago; I see these kinds of images going to the mall. What was shocking, however, was how Bordo a published, woman philosopher born in 1947 wrote about these images. I felt myself blush as I read “it seems slightly erect, or perhaps that’s his nonerect size, either way, there’s a substantial presence there that’s palpable (it looks so touchable, you want to cup your hand over it) and very, very male” (113). Can she write that in a scholarly essay? Her essay is written in a fresh and unique style full of incomplete sentences, personal commentary, movie references and unashamed sexual language and images. It can be difficult to read because of these aspects alone, but I feel the real tension of essay exists in Bordo’s critique on materialism and how we allow fashion, advertising, and images to define our sexuality.
Bordo first, introduces to us the concept of the gaze by comparing philosophers and lovers Jean-Paul Sarte and Simone de Beauvior reactions on being gazed at. Beauvior feels that “for the woman the absence of her lover is always torture; he is an eye, a judge… away from him, she is dispossessed”; interestingly, Sarte has an opposite view, that the gaze of a lover is hell for “the other person has stolen ‘the secret’ of who I am. I must fight back, resist their attempts to define ...


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...ccept the unconventional style of the essay and the images that don’t seem appropriate for the classroom. As a reader, you must be willing to remove yourself from how you view gender, sexuality and allow Bordo to show you that how you act, think, and expect others to act is unoriginal. Your views are strategically fed to you; companies banking on the fact that their images will require you to change, ensuring you spend to be like what you see. As a consumer in a capitalist society, we like to think that we know the system, that we’re not affected by the images we see. The essay doesn’t allow us this luxury, it makes us question our ideas of what is masculine and feminine and the roles our culture confines us to. Bordo requires that we dig deeper and ask if our materialism, our desire to be like what we see, is defining who we are and how we expect others to act.


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