With the aim to compare and contrast the main theoretical findings and new considerations expressed by Bartky with the conclusions made by Roberts and McRobbie, these major theoretical concepts should be summarized. First of all, Bartky argues that perception of women as a feminine creation is formed by the influence of men’s point of view. It means that described three categories relating to the body such as body size and configuration, the way this body behave itself and the ornamented body’s surface are forced to change according to the standards set by the men in the society. Bartky applies the Foucault’s views in describing the state of women in society in particular the issue of docile body.
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The author underlines that femininity is not an inborn feature; it is an achievement that is greatly affected by the established in the society norms of being beauty or matching the status held by women in particular through the influence of the omnipresent media. It is stated that the freedom to develop its own decision about the women’s body is restricted by the male dictatorship in the establishment of the ideal parameters and requirements to appearance.
Developing the issue of Foucault’s docile body, Bartky introduces the concept of “libidinal body”, describing the two forms of its interaction with society. On the one hand, this libidinal body are the focus of the cultural disciplinary practices. On the other hand, the natural impulse to hegemony of the feminine self-affirmation and impulse towards pleasure force women to oppose. Such “libidinal bodies” of the female half of society rebel against society’s prejudices and interpretations of truth in terms of men’s view of things.
Modern media technologies on a daily basis communicate a clear message to the female consumers that they have to fit in the existing parameters of the body or its additions. Under such propaganda women and girls change their lifestyles, making serious harm to their health, adjust the size of their body to set standards, monitor the way their body move and complete the needed image by bright make-up and jewellery.
Therefore, Bartky encourages women to go beyond the existing panopticon and not to be led by the modern technologies that transform not only the perception of the women’s body but the way they begin to think too. Invisible but widespread and inescapable pressure on the female body exists. Disciplinary principles governing body image under the strict control of men’s omnipresent surveillance should be rebelled.
Female individualization is in the focus of the study developed by McRobbie. The author argues that the era of aggressive feminism ended, and it is a time to develop female individuality rather than struggle for the slow transformation of a woman into a man. McRobbie supports Bartky’s idea that women has the right to be natural without being treated as a violator of the common rules relating women’s body image created by men.
McRobbie pointed that if feminism sees women as equal men in all areas of life, then post feminism overcomes this humiliating equalization, saying that the essence is in the difference, in a kind of "feminine side," which is manifested not in moods, but in common sense and detailed logical thinking. This is attributed to the special women's sensuality. They have to develop their way to a harmony based on their view of femininity.
McRobbie’s findings about the demonstrative on the words choice and freedom of women to act and behave are similar to the paradox described by Bartky. In the modern world, women could do what they wish, but the increased social pressure forces them to maintain traditional feminine identity and match the set standards. McRobbie emphasizes that society and especially representatives of the post feministic movement should recognize that despite the inherent plausible criticism, feminism brought positive shifts in the direction of providing more rights to the female half of the society in the fields of employment opportunities, law and education. However, further pursuit of these objectives would destroy the normal flow of life where the place and time for the feminine weakness and sensuality has to exist, will cause the destruction of family status and numerous psychological problems.
McRobbie highlights that feminism dismantled itself. Post feminism will bring the new stream into the perception of women not a soldier like, but a unique creation – strong, but feminine. The author stated that achievements of feminism in granting rights to women should not be lost. Therefore, women should have a life-plan. They must decide what kind of live they want to have. To achieve the life harmony they have to save their individuality and not be programmed as robots to obtain top management’s posts. They have to be more legible and reflexive in all aspects of life from choosing the marriage partner to altering the working mode without being charged as weak or boneless.
Roberts developed Bartky’s thesis about the media pressure on the choice of particular appearance such as clothes and other additional body’s “ornamentation”. Roberts emphasized the commercial focus of the modern media affecting the choice of women through extensive advertising campaigns that enrich the corporations led in majority cases by the men. The author draws attention to the correlation between lifestyle television and propaganda of the ideology of post feminism. In the modern world, appearance is everything, fashion is the obsession. But the author argues that such an obsession is imposed by those who have a huge power. This is the power to influence the fashion directions, power to create such advertisements which are favorable for a certain stratum of society.
Roberts supports Bartky’s thoughts about the existence of anonymous but persistent pressure and surveillance on the way the women position themselves in the society. Roberts agrees with Bartky that penetrating discipline shifts into a self-perpetuating in particular in the body shape creation and meeting the fashion requirements with the help of numerous diets. However, the author underlines that one of the main postulate of the post feminism is a return to an awareness of the women’s authentic inner self. It begins from the choice of clothing and concerns the issues of family, the birth of children and the relationship to the professional achievements.
The author emphasizes that television programs such as What not to Wear pays attention to the fact that woman is what she wears. However, it should be a conscious choice. From this small choice begins the big road of successful harmonization of the inner world of women and their life.
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