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THE POLITICS OF WOMEN'S BODY IMAGES AND PRACTICES: FOUCAULT, THE PANOPTICON, AND SHAPE MAGAZINE

Journal of Sport & Social Issues , Volume 18 (1): 48 – Feb 1, 1994

Details

Publisher
Sage Publications
Copyright
Copyright © 1994 by SAGE Publications
ISSN
0193-7235
eISSN
0193-7235
D.O.I.
10.1177/019372394018001004
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THE POLITICS OF WOMEN'S BODY IMAGES AND PRACTICES: FOUCAULT, THE PANOPTICON, AND SHAPE MAGAZINE

Abstract

This study demonstrates how the metaphor of the panopticon, a particular prison structure that renders prisoners self-monitoring, offers a useful way of understanding the mechanisms that inculcate an unrealistic body ideal in women. Foucault's notion of panopticism and a critical approach are used to show how textual mechanisms in two issues of Shape magazine—a women's fitness glossy—invite a continual self-conscious body monitoring in women. An analysis of two panoptic mechanisms, “The Efficacy of Initiative” and “Feeling Good Means Looking Good,” is supplemented with a discussion of Foucault's notion of confession/shame, and specific features of Shape' s discourse are analyzed for their panoptic content.
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