Reading Analysis #4 – The Female Body

Corinne Anderson
Professor Tracy Penny Light
History 2480
September 21, 2017

Reading Analysis Week #4

While reading these articles/books/essays , I am frequently reminded of the timelines that these views were written in. The articles in question are only a few decades old, but previous essays from the class also reflect on that some ideas have stayed the same throughout the years. Women are objects to be looked at and nothing much has changed about that opinion in the eyes of the patriarchal society. The authors bring up the theme of objectification throughout their writings but I’ve come across another horrifying but nevertheless interesting theme, that is the idea of the ‘castrated’ woman.

    The authors go on to write that female sexuality is to be controlled by the male sexuality, that is, the focus on the phallus instead of the womb, and defines women as ‘castrated’. They describe this as that women do not get the right to their own sexuality. Even though this statement was written decades ago, it still rings true I believe. The authors describe the themes that the woman is a construct of the patriarchy and that the woman is inferior, she does not get her own body, she gets a ‘lesser’ man’s body, something that has been defiled, mutilated and not a source of power and never will be. Mulvey, who brings up the argument that men have always looked upon women with erotic desires and that the woman is an object, talks about ‘castration anxiety’ that the female figure frightens the male. While this theme of female castration and the objectification of women is unified throughout the three articles, the author Segal states that, “outside the outside realm of psychoanalytic conservatism’  female castration is physically impossible as there is no penis to begin with.  So because of this, can we ask if the male is actually scared of the female body in some way?  That her form frightens him as it is a reminder of what could be, if the roles were reversed ? Better yet, will women ever be able to hold power in the way man does in society? This opens up a ‘can of worms’ as they say, for if women did hold the power and casted off objectification, would the roles switch and the men become the objects? Or would there be equal grounds?


Reading Analysis #3 How women are portrayed in the media

Corinne Anderson
Professor Tracy Penny Light
History 2480
September 17, 2017

Reading Analysis Week # 3

     While reading the articles, “Women’s Depiction by the Mass Media” by G. Tuchman and Susan Bordo’s “Never Just Pictures”, it got me thinking; The media is both obsessed and pretending not to care about how women are portrayed. Focusing on women’s body in fashion then turning around and shutting women down when they fight for accurate representations by shoving images of traditional roles of women down their throats on the TV.

Bordo zeroes in on the issues of the modelling world and the health complications that come with it, and how the fashion industry bringing thinner and thinner models has changed the average girl’s perspective of themselves; “If she can look like that, then why shouldn’t I?”  Tuchman on the other hand describes the media’s focus on making the woman be noticed only when needed, such as in housecleaning ads but not where it matters most, an accurate depiction of a woman in a non-traditional role, perhaps as a CEO of a sprawling company or a heavy-duty mechanic elbow deep inside an engine. Tuchman touches on that depicting women in office roles has happened but only in a manner that compares her to the man, where she wears a business suit and forcefully makes her way to the top instead of focusing on her character or her abilities and how she is a driving force behind the company.

Both of the articles bring up the issue of women in roles that do not accurately depict feasible roles for other women to follow suit. Not all women are models, but the media likes for us to think that we ( the average person) can be like the models on TV, and fit the clothes and fit the lifestyle. On that note, this issue brings up the problem with the influence on young girls. Girls as young as eight are doing their makeup like the stars on Instagram, wearing crop tops and tight clothes like their favourite celebrities and changing their personalities to better match like their favourite youtube stars. Is this just children being children and copying what they see or is this a deeper much more complex issue that should be addressed? How can children understand that it’s okay to be different when they’re being influenced by social media or even traditional media? I’m not sure of the answer, though I believe that there should be a boundary laid down as it teaches girls an unhealthy image of themselves to be something they are not.

Reading Analysis # 2

Corinne Anderson

Professor Tracy Penny Light

History 2480

September 12, 2017

Reading Analysis Week # 2

De Beauvoir’s essay speaks about feminism at a much earlier and different time and while I was reading and comparing many of the issues she brought up as similar to issues today that women face, there were a few of her arguments that I felt were a little outdated. First, I felt that the argument that a woman will stand by her man even when a woman of a different ethnic or cultural group is being oppressed might have been true of the time this article was written, I do believe that that argument has changed for the better. Feminism is now such a part of people’s lives that today, I firmly believe that a woman would stand up for a woman no matter their skin, race or culture. Otherwise, both of the articles spoke mountains of the hardships of feminism especially in a time where women were still mainly seen as possessions. Saying that, the theme of the domestic woman as an item that was ‘wrong’ or a ‘problem’ that had to be fixed if she was unhappy or negative, sits wrong with me. In the sense that the man ( or the doctor, the therapist, the friend next door) had to find a way to bring the housewife back down to the unhappy, unfulfilling or boring life of a stay-at-home mom. When perhaps she wanted to be an engineer, a gardener or a lawyer. Women were so afraid to be singled out that they weren’t the perfect suburban housewife, they would stay silent and suffer through. Sadly, many women do not succeed their full potential because they are not privileged in resources or directions. What’s most important is that modern girls read through history, read feminist arguments and see that there is more to life than just being a wife.

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