Women As They "Should Be" Essay

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Women As “They Should Be” If Barbie were enlarged to the size of a real woman she would be 7’2” and 101 pounds (Pendergast, “Barbie.”) Growing up, millions of little girls are fascinated by Barbie’s cute style and accessories. They watch thousands of advertisements promoting Barbie’s new flashy sports car, her handsome boyfriend Ken, and her fully furnished apartment. Majority of these impressionable girls don’t realize the influence that such an unrealistic and disproportionate image has on their lives. The media and advertisements begin to target girls at a very young age. The girls’ minds are bombarded with blatant and subliminal messages of how women are supposed to look and act. Mass media’s use of biopower in their portrayal of women and femininity ingrains the objectification of women in the population while simultaneously putting pressure on women to fill the predetermined appropriate roles in society. French philosopher Michel Foucault first used the concept of biopower to describe a way the state can exert total control over its constituents. Biopower literally means the power over life; it is "an explosion of numerous and diverse techniques for achieving the subjugations of bodies and the control of populations" (Foucault 1998, 140). The process of biopower emerged originally through the power of sovereignty. As government developed, the power over life or death came under the control of a sovereign ruler. Eventually, the focus of this power was shifted from death towards life; “this death that was based on the right of the sovereign is now manifested as simply the reverse of the right of the social body to ensure, maintain, or develop its life” (Foucault 1984, 259). Rather than threatening life, biopower seeks to effectively regulate it. As the focus of the power was altered towards regulation, new mechanisms of control were developed in order

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