Feminism, Foucault, and Freedom of Choice : An Analysis of Body Modification Practices and How They are Advertised
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This paper is a feminist and Foucauldian analysis of body modification practices and advertisements for body modification techniques. I begin with an examination of advertisements and testimonials for body modification techniques whose messages are of personal expression, control, confidence, strength, and self-acceptance. I examine the ways advertisements employ this language of empowerment to sell their products and services, demonstrating how advertisements perpetuate the widespread 'body modification-as-freedom' attitude. Next, I analyze this pervasive attitude using a feminist framework -showing how the language of the advertisements is distorted and how the advertised products and services actually work to constrain, rather than empower women. I add to the feminist framework a discussion of Foucault, outlining how body modification techniques lend themselves to Foucault's notion of power and how feminist thinkers use Foucault to explain mechanisms of women's oppression. After a brief critique of a Foucauldian framework, I close with practical steps to approaching body modification practices with critical consciousness.