EssaysIn DepthSex & GenderTheory & Practice

Neoliberalism and the Feminine Subject*

Foucault’s radical intervention in feminist theory, and more generally in the philosophy of the body, has been the crucial claim that any analysis of embodiment must recognise: how power relations are constitutive of the embodied subjects involved in them. His studies of disciplinary technologies, for example, show how individuals are constructed through mundane, everyday habits and techniques as certain kinds of subjects. Similarly, feminist appropriations of Foucault’s thought have demonstrated how feminine subjects are constructed through patriarchal, disciplinary practices. In the first section of this paper, I will illustrate this process by discussing Sandra Bartky’s influential account of how the docile feminine body is constructed through disciplinary practices of beauty. …