Bartky's Article On Psychological Oppression Of Women
1051 Words5 Pages
Research Question: How does the academic literature on femininity and sexual objectification complicate everyday understandings of the gender issues involved?
Sandra Lee Bartky’s chapter on the psychological oppression of women operates by employing a philosophical analysis from the feminist perspective that analyses and discusses the ‘feminine’ individual. Bartky examines the feminine subject, and thus female consciousness, as being one located in the patriarchy where one’s femininity is constructed and expressed as a result of a number of oppressive relationships. In her review of Bartky’s book, Schell (1994) explains that ‘On Psychological Oppression’ “theorises modes of sexist psychological oppression via Frank Fanon’s analytical framework…show more content… She explains that when a woman’s sexuality or sexual parts come to be the totality of what defines her, there ceases to be reconciliation in her identity. Instead, the sexual defines all sorts of experiences and even those where it is not appropriate to be considered. The result is that this method of being perceived works to perpetuate the ways in which women are dominated and subjugated. Barkly (1990) states that “sexualization is one way of fixing disadvantaged persons in their disadvantage, to their clear detriment and within a narrow and repressive eros” (p. 37). Wollstonecraft (1982) asserts that truth is hidden from women, that they are taught beauty is their currency. In this same sense, Bartky argues that women are deceived in a systematic way about the cause and nature of their unhappiness. Indeed, truth is hidden in this way where “our struggles are directed inward upon the self, not outward upon those social forces responsible for our predicament” (Bartky, 1990, p. 40). The preceding essay has demonstrated how academic literature on femininity and sexual objectification can complicate everyday understandings of the gender issues involved. Gender issues can seem innocuous to some, even irrelevant if one happens to belong to a dominant group and thus is not privy to the oppressive forces experienced by others on a daily basis. When one begins to delve into academic literature on the subject, it is clear that gender issues arise from extremely complex relationships between the body, media, institutions, psychology, law and the economy (to name a few). In relation to popular culture, Bartky’s chapter sets the groundwork for understanding how “beauty ideals and practices arise due to pressures that women face in male-dominated societies” (Swami and Coles, 2010, p. 366). Drawing on categories laid out by Fanon, Bartky details the resulting internalized oppression, alienation, and