Body politics feminism


The term body politics refers to the practices and policies through which powers of society regulate the human body, as well as the struggle over the degree of individual and social control of the body. The powers at play in body politics include institutional power expressed in government and laws, disciplinary power exacted in economic production, discretionary power exercised in consumption, and personal power negotiated in intimate relations. Individuals and movements engage in body politics when they seek to alleviate the oppressive effects of institutional and interpersonal power on those whose bodies are marked as inferior or who are denied rights to control their own bodies.


Body politics was first used in this sense in the 1970s, during the “second wave” of the feminist movement in the United States. It arose out of feminist politics and the abortion debates. Body politics originally involved the fight against objectification of the female body, and violence against women and girls, and the campaign for reproductive rights for women. “The personal is the political” became a slogan that captured the sense that domestic contests for equal rights in the home and within sexual relationships are crucial to the struggle for equal rights in the public. This form of body politics emphasized a woman’s power and authority over her own body. Many feminists rejected practices that draw attention to differences between male and female bodies, refusing to shave their legs and underarms and rejecting cosmetics and revealing, form-fitting clothing. The book Our Bodies, Our Selves, published in 1973, aimed to widen and deepen women’s knowledge of the workings of the female body, thus allowing women to be more active in pursuit of their sexual pleasure and reproductive health.

Second-wave feminist body politics promoted breaking the silence about rape, sexual abuse, and violence against women and girls, which many interpreted as extreme examples of socially sanctioned male power. The feminists who followed at the end of the twentieth century accepted this stance on rape and violence against women and girls, but they found the gender ideals of second-wave feminists too confining. Members of this generation, sometimes called third-wave feminists or post-feminists, endorse a range of body modification and gender practices that include butchfem gender roles, gender-blending, transgender lifestyles, transsexual surgeries, body piercing, and tattoos.

Women’s bodies were the political battleground of the abortion debates. A protracted struggle to establish a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy was won when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the right to abortion in the case of Roe v. Wade in 1974. Almost immediately after that decision, anti-abortion (also called pro-life) activists began protesting against this extension of women’s reproductive rights. Anti-abortion advocates likened aborting a fetus to murder, while pro-abortion advocates (also called pro-choice) pointed to the legion of women who had died in illegal abortions, and to the many more who would doubtlessly follow them if abortion were to become illegal again. In that adversaries square off over the issue of individual versus social control of a woman’s pregnancy, the abortion debates are prime examples of body politics.


what is politics of partiality in feminism? | Yahoo Answers

Politics of partiality refers to the separative politics that is influenced by the principles of feminism. It is a confluence of feminism and politics!!

What are political and social causes feminism.

The first wave of feminism was caused by women seeking the right to vote. The second wave of feminism was caused by women seeking the right to equality in employment, education and aspirations. They also sought the right to reproductive freedom.

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