Essay Example on The relationship between femininity notions of control and illnesses such as anorexia

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The relationship between femininity notions of control and illnesses such as anorexia and agoraphobia is such that the pursuit of ideal femininity results in a perception of freedom from control however in reality it amplifies control of society through illnesses such as anorexia and agoraphobia The body is more than just its physical form It is what we do to keep within social ideals Bordo 2017 78 As such the body is easily influenced through various aspects of society Throughout history women have strived to reach the unattainable figure of femininity physically and mentally which has resulted in greater societal control over women All women were expected to be whatever the current ideal was In modern days too these pressures are exerted upon women causing their bodies to change from primal to docile bodies that are just a conscious construct of what is closest to the current ideal Bordo 2017 79 This amplifies society s control over women because as they become docile they are no longer what they want to be but instead what society wants Bordo 2017 79 and in a predominantly male controlled society this results in a loss of power for women but an increase for men In the film Codes of Gender gender display is defined the process whereby we perform the roles expected of us by social convention Sully 2012 Women were expected to take care of the home nurture and raise children and look out for the needs of the husband 



This made the ideal image of femininity passive weak and verbal rather than physical making it easier to ensure that women fulfilled their duties McGarry 2017 This stereotypical gender role is still present today in Western society and aids the continued male dominance of power These notions of control and gender roles lead to diseases like anorexia and agoraphobia At its extreme the power over women and their body shaping results in doing anything to reach these unrealistic goals and that is when such illnesses begin After staying at home for so long they begin to fear going outside and may be afraid of unfamiliar environments They might feel as though they are unable to go out without someone to help them feel comfortable This only results in an even tighter grip on women by society Now out of fear of going out a woman has seemingly nothing else better to do in the eyes of society than what is expected tend to the house husband and children Furthermore in striving towards this ideal image portrayed by society many women try to maintain the slim figures that are often considered an ideal feminine body At first they start by dieting but may continue to eat less and less until eventually they are eating the bare minimum to keep themselves alive At this point society has complete power over the woman By trying to reach the impossible goal of perfection now the agoraphobic or anorexic woman has become an entirely docile body 



These illnesses are however also connected to the notion of control in a different way Another reason women may begin to diet and then continue eating less is because of the idea that in resisting the hunger and urge to eat they are attaining traits normally considered masculine which society values Bordo 2017 84 In the film it states Masculinity is about power and strength and femininity is superficial and weak Sully 2012 Due to the dominance of male power in society these masculine traits would not normally be considered possible for a woman to achieve thus part of the reason that it is possible for a woman to willingly supress her appetite The power in our society that comes along with these attributes of control over oneself and self mastery can be very addictive especially to a woman that would otherwise lack this power Bordo 2017 84 In addition for a woman that understands that ideals of society are unfair and impossible to achieve anorexia or agoraphobia can seem like a form of protest These women by becoming so slim and malnourished cannot physically fulfill their stereotypical duties This makes them feel as though they are protesting in the form of a strike against the necessity to perform Bordo 2017 83 Too sick to clean the house take care of a husband or children a woman may feel that she is fighting against the pressures of society This however is not true Therefore the relationship between femininity notions of control and illnesses like anorexia and agoraphobia shows that a perception of freedom from control and even a form of protest come from the pursuit of ideal femininity although in reality becoming ill to this point is no protest in the grand scheme of things society is powerful and has absolute influence over femininity and the body of women


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