The Feminine Body Essay Research Paper The

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The Feminine Body Essay, Research Paper The Feminine Body Bartky (p. ?) states that we are born male or female, but not masculine or feminine. Femininity is an artifice, and achievement, “a mode of enacting and reenacting received gender norms which surface as so many styles of the flesh. In today’s society there does seem to be a significant rise in disciplinary practices that produce a body which in gesture and appearance is recognizably feminine (p. ?). However; the female figure has changed over time and nowadays women are striving more for the look of slimness bordering on emanciation (p. ?). But think back to the eighteenth century when the larger woman was considered the norm of beauty, and now this massiveness, power, and abundance in a woman’s body is met with

distaste. Thus, remaining a female preoccupation with appearance that is almost universal. I challenge every woman to ask themselves this question, “does having a beautiful of sexy body really gain them any respect or social power?” Sure, they may use their bodies to attract male attention, using this admiration to compensate for their inferior self- esteem, yet the sad irony is that the more energy a woman expends focusing on her body as an object of admiration, the less real contact with her body she will have. Women’s preoccupation with appearance is psychologically damaging. But cultural ideas about femininity make it extremely difficult to distinguish self affirming behavior from that which contributes to our persona, or our false self. Each time we try to create a

feeling of being “feminine” we involve ourselves in the production of something artificial- a performance. In fact, when we say to ourselves, “fix the flaw,” we only reinforce our perception of ourselves as being damaged and not good enough. My own experiences throughout my life thus far, perpetuate this very notion of wanting and striving for outer beauty, rather than inner strength and assurance. I remember at the tender age of fourteen my mother came to me and said, “you’d be so pretty if you just lost some weight.” At that point in my development being liked by my peers was my main focus, but I just didn’t fit in because of my weight. I was not someone with good-looking legs. I was short and not well porportioned, with breasts that were too small. My face was

like a chipmunk’s. By then, though, it was too late for any reassurance; my body image had already been formed. Thus began the rollercoaster of crash diets, surgery, and years of bingeing and purging. All for what though, so I could fit in with how society thinks a woman should look like? What did I really accomplish and who did I accomplish it for? Am I any more popular because I’ve taken off the extra seventy five pounds? Sure, I get attention now and people seem to like me more, however; it still doesn’t fill the void of wanting to feel and be an equal to all humankind. Can’t I just be me and not have to consume my every thought with how I appear to others? I wish there was an easy answer but unfortunately there is not. Self- image and femininity includes both physical

and psychological qualities, and is formed as a result of internalizing how we are perceived, what we are told, and what feelings and attitudes are conveyed by our caretakers and society as a whole. If a female regards her body, her mind, her competence, and her role in life as less than that of a man, then these feelings will no doubt be communicated in various self defeating behaviors and will become the nucleus of the female’s identity. It is universal in women, this deep sense of being flawed. We cannot stop looking, picking, dieting. We cannot leave ourselves alone. Out of touch with our inner selves, we tend to rely excessively on our outer selves. We can change our outer selves, improve our outer selves, and thus secure the attention we so desperately require. In so