Real Women Have Curves by Josefina Lopez

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In Josefina Lopez’s play Real Women Have Curves, a group of Hispanic women discuss their sex appeal in terms of their body image. They judge their psychological aspect of sex appeal based on how well their physiological aspect of body image agrees with society’s ideals. In Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish, he explains that society is an amplified Panopticon that causes its members to observe one another and themselves. This theory explains these women’s compulsion to peruse their bodies to make sure that they fit within society’s standards of sexiness. Although these women are described in a collective manner, Lopez delineates each woman’s character distinctively. Their differing characters are greatly influenced by the opposing cultural values of Latinas working in sweatshops and that of White-American feminists. According to Patricia Hill Collins’ Black Feminist Thought, these conflicting cultural values develop oppositional knowledge in these women, which alters their perception of the female sex appeal. Hill Collins also explains that when individuals communicate their diverse ideas in a unified manner, it precipitates a unanimous definition to a society. This theory supports why the Latinas in Lopez’s play demonstrate a progression towards similar ideologies. In summary, using Foucault to explain the idea of self-surveillance, and Hill Collins to explain oppositional knowledge developed by contrasting the cultural values of White-American feminists and Latinas working in sweatshops, it is possible to describe the social phenomena of defining female sex appeal in terms of body image in Lopez’s play. In Real Women Have Curves, the Latinas in a sweatshop reveal their perception of their sex appeal by discussing their body... ... middle of paper ... ...some try to break away from society’s definition of the female sex appeal and create their own definitions. The reformists among these women use the oppositional knowledge they get as outsiders-within the White-American feminists’ culture, to change the perception of the Latinas who choose to suppress this knowledge. When these women share their individual perspectives in a unanimous voice, they become a self-defined community. This community is not limited by the ideals of society, rather it opposes society and creates its own definition of the female sex appeal. Works Cited Hill Collins, Patricia. Black Feminist Thought. Blackboard. Arizona State University. Web. 3 May 2014. Foucault, Michel. Discipline & Punish. New York: Random House Inc, 1978. Print. 3 May 2014. Lopez, Josefina. Real Women Have Curves. Illinois: Dramatic Publishing, 1990. Print. 3 May 2014.

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