Essay on The Writings Of Foucault, Bartky, Butler, And Bordo

Essay on The Writings Of Foucault, Bartky, Butler, And Bordo

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The writings of Foucault, Bartky, Butler, and Bordo are significantly separate from each other in the issues that they grapple with within the body of their texts but their also overlap on major points, as is to be expected when many people write on the same subject. Each of these writers is concerned with different aspects of power and how that power is used and how it operates within our society. Most of these writers are feminist theorists and concerned with the ways that the female body is affected by power used against her while Foucault is less concerned with how power affects female bodies specifically but that can be seen as a result of his lack of connection to feminist thought. If Foucault mentions women and how they are affected by power structures within his writings structures it is merely because women are a group of people affected by power, not because they are specifically women.
Foucault explains power in a unique way, as not specifically forces enacting power like the government, the police force, or various other groups present in our society but he explains that power is “everywhere [and] it comes from everywhere” (Foucault, 309). More easily understood Foucault is presenting forth the idea of hegemony, or the thought that power structures exist because everyone buys into them. For example, women’s dress in business situations. For the most part, women are expected to dress in nigh uncomfortable clothes in the work place: skirts, heels, makeup (to a degree). Women accept this, men accept this, and everyone in society accepts this as a norm. Because it is seen as “normal” rather than something forced upon women by a group, other women will police their peers: sharp looks, snide comments, etc. This norm is poli...


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...mony thrives on the docility of bodies, in this case the docility of the female body.
In conclusion, women are shown an ideal, constructed through power. That ideal becomes a norm through hegemony. As women accept this norm they become docile bodies, who follow these rules and norms without thinking. But throughout it all this is still a costume or performance that women are conducting. These ideals did not come from them, are not them, it is what society sees as the ideal woman, and so they must perform to that expectation. While Foucault, Bartky, Butler, and Bordo each speak to different aspects of power we must take each of their points and combine them to understand the full system of power and hegemony as it exists and operates exists within our society. While they may not have planned for their ideas to merge, we must do so ourselves for a full understanding.

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