Docile Bodies And Female Objectification

From Jazz Quartet: An Exploration of Female Objectification, the Docile Body, and Habitus in Print Media

Our Vuvox Presentations:

SEVENTEEN: “Beauty and Womanhood As Constructed By Seventeen”

PLAYBOY: “The Evolution of Playboy”

SPORTS ILLUSTRATED: “Sports Illustrated: A Look At Women in the Male-Dominated Field of Sports Media”

VOGUE: “Vogue and its Transformation”

Objectives of the Project:
  1. To inform the public about various societal issues that the woman uniquely faces that are exemplified through media, specifically through magazines. By choosing magazines that focus on a range of different audiences (Seventeen, Vogue, Playboy, and Sports Illustrated), we see that the commonalities of female objectification, the female habitus as structured by society, and the evolution of the female as a docile body are common threads in print media.
  2. We wanted our audience to realize that while matters of female objectification may seen inevitable and even clique in this day and age, it is important to recognize that these matters have existed in our society for years and continue to develop in new forms. We must recognize the patterns and evolution that occurs in order to make decisions about what we can do to either alter such patterns or at least begin to shift our mindsets to not simply take objectifying notions in media and throughout our society for what they are, but rather critically consider and question them, and be aware of the negative impacts that the notions of the docile body, some aspects of the habitus, and other forms of objectification have on the woman.
  1. We see our projects as successful because we learned a lot in the process and feel as though others have benefited from the information as well. We learned about practical application of theorists, such as Foucault, Bourdieu, and Burger/Luckmann. For example, we used the theories of docile bodies, the habitus, and social construction of reality to describe how the image of the woman has transformed and evolved over the decades.
  2. We found that women are portrayed very differently based on the publication. Vogue, for example, portrays women as powerful by emphasizing the face, and even when the body is shown, it is still portrayed as empowered. In contrast, the women in Seventeen are portrayed as objects of male desire. And in Sports Illustrated the female body is portrayed as less able and shown for their sexuality rather than their sports ability. Furthermore, Playboy represents the construction of reality that the male dominated society has placed on women. We looked at Foucault’s concept of docile bodies, finding that the media industry disciplines the female body by subjecting it to the “model” ideal in order to keep women oppressed and men in a dominating role.
  3. Altogether, we really valued the application of the theory and found it to make learning theory more accessible. It also challenged us because we had so many ideas and wanted to apply everything to everything, but found it hard to narrow down our ideas, which inevitably lead to us having less time to perfect our project. But despite the time issues, we found it to challenge us in that it made us critically analyze things we would usually take at face value, like magazine covers. The project inspired us to look at the body through a Capitalist standpoint and utilize the habitus in respect to the relation of the female and male bodies.

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