The Body Self Disciplines Essay

The Body Self Disciplines Essay

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People tend to be less conscious of how they daily use their bodies to express gender and how their bodies generate their identities. Dieting, makeup, nail polishing, wearing high-heels and body movements are one of the examples of the body self-disciplines, which the female unconsciously performs as a part of their gender identity every day. Foucault wrote that identity is a form of subjugation and exercising the power upon individual or society. As a part of identity, gender identity can be considered as a limitation of personal freedom, which prevents individual from moving outside fixed gender boundaries. The society establishes gender boundaries on different social levels according to existing norms and values prescribed to masculinity and femininity. Disciplining as “a political anatomy of detail” is one of the hidden mechanisms of power, which society uses to form ‘docile bodies’ on the micro level of power and later on the governmentality level. In the context of discourse, power can be defined as: “the multiplicity of force relations immanent in the sphere in which they operate and which constitute their own organization”[1, 92] and as a “pure limit set on freedom”[1, 93], secrecy of which guarantee acceptability and submission to the power by the subject. I would like to focus on the micro level of disciplinary power upon the body such as regulations of the gendered body’s activities, techniques and appearance. I suggest that gender, specifically femininity, is a discipline that produces bodies and identities and operates as an form of social control.
First of all, from the moment of birth parents create a gendered environment and teach girl to discipline her body according norms and values prescribed to femininity. Ju...


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...women tend not to use the full potential of their bodies. They socialized to see themselves as an object of behavior “vulnerable to objectification and measuring their self-esteem through men’s eyes”[6, 85]. Such concentrating on the body as an object results to the disconnection from the body. The girl does not have a power above the body and tend to follow norms, standards and values that correspond to the ideal of body presentation for the male gaze and society. Unsecure and disconnection lead to lower self-esteem and as a result in perception of body as weak, vulnerable and more powerful role models and authorities. Parents gendering of the female or male body in childhood is the foundation on which further gendering of the body occurs throughout the life. Such repetitive disciplining practices made gender difference feel and appear natural in everyday practices.

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