In modern life, it is common knowledge the fact that the female body within the consumer western world constitutes a multidimensional and important issue as far as the self- identity, social, historical, and political aspects are concerned. In particular, in a capitalist regime, a woman’s body is manipulated through disciplinary approaches which try to make it more useful, more multi-functional and more beautiful compared to the past.
Women in today’s world have to be beautiful, strong, intelligent, with developed skills and attitudes. They have to combine work, household chores, the raising of their children and be ‘sexy’ at the same time. That is why a ‘multi-functional body’ is demanded in our era.
Furthermore, femininity is truly connected with the body. An example to support this argument is the Hollywood industry which supports the idea of ‘free-yourself’ through your body. In particular, Hollywood and the Media World have contributed to the construction of femininity through the celebrity idols, the cosmetic surgery programs they promote, like Nip Tuck, and series like Sex and the City. All these emphasize the importance of a ‘good’ body in a consumerist society, which is ready to be loved and appreciated by others.
It is interesting to note that this ‘look good – feel good’ approach to life demonstrates the power that is given to the female body. For this reason, consumerism conveys the message that the more products the women buy, the more feminine, sexual and better their bodies will be. The body is, therefore, the tool for women to taste life and experience a brand new ‘hedonistic lifestyle’. The body of a woman can make her feel attractive, confident and she could be included in the category lifestyle of the ‘Martini people’.
According to the aforementioned, I could not help but wonder…has the patriarchal structure of the society that Christianity and others religions support really changed throughout the years? Or Consumerism and Neoliberalism still promote the male-dominated society by sexualising women through their bodies and making them feel accountable only when they accomplish what the advertisements say….? The only thing that is unquestionable is that femininity which is expressed through the body constitutes a social construct….thus as Simone De Beauvoir once said: ‘ A woman’s body is her situation, not her destiny’.
This ‘destiny’ is defined by the people and their culture…but ultimately what is really worth to mention is that all the disciplinary approaches that have been detected through all of those years regarding the body, hide one of humanity’s greatest fears — the fear of death. As a consequence, consumerism exploits the fear of growing old and makes people and particularly women feel that they will be more loved and live longer if they take care of their bodies by implementing certain advice that the mechanism of society gives to them.
Finally the Love Your Body syndrome (LYB) suggests that in today’s era, you go straight from the gym to the therapist’s couch to work on instilling the proper compulsory self body love. Thus, as you see, today the emphasis is given upon teaching the masses not what to think, but how to think’!