Friday Feminist – Sandra Lee Bartky (3)

Styles of the female figure vary over time and across cultures: they reflect cultural obsessions and preoccupations in ways that are still poorly understood. Today, massiveness, power, or abundance in a woman’s body is met with distaste. The current body of fashion is taut, small-breasted, narrow-hipped, and of a slimness bordering on emaciation; it is a silhouette that seems more appropriate to an adolescent boy or newly pubescent girl than to an adult woman. Since ordinary women have normally quite different dimensions, they must of course diet.

Sandra Lee Bartky, “Foucault, Femininity and the Modernization of Patriarchal Power,” in Irene Diamond and Lee Quimby (eds), Feminism and Foucault: Reflections on Resistance, 1988

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One response to “Friday Feminist – Sandra Lee Bartky (3)

  1. The issue is partly about women occupying (gendered) space, and I note the fashions of the suffragette era. Pretty, pretty, very feminine, but at the same time tailored, as women entered the workforce in large nos. The ideal form was Junoesque, with heavy low-slung breasts and a wasp waist. The whole was offset with huge hats, in the 1890s extremely wide sleeves. The trend now seems to be diminished women.