Reading Analysis #4 – The Female Body

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?


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