Regulating Bodies- Power and Control

Overt and covert forms of control.

Why is it important to consider control in the body?

In the past the body was controlled by:

  • religion
  • suppression of appetites, actual and sexual, i.e. sin
  • concept of heaven and hell
  • poor life would result in ‘just gifts’ in heaven

Consider what Foucault means by, ‘visibility is a trap’?

Panopticon- central point where guards stay and can see everyone. Prisoners can not see the guards and don’t know if they are being watched. This makes them change their behaviour as if they are being watched.

Same context in a selfie. A selfie is an object, a representation of yourself. It’s never a subject of communication. It is passive, might contain information but never an owner.

A subject is free, powerful and does not need to be owned and can communicate freely.

Idea of  power of individuals is dispersed through society rather than in  one location. E.g; school- controlled through bells, timetable systems, rules, it teaches you a social system.

Health- mandatory inoculations, health screening, hospitalisation and health records.

Group work

Consider ways in which bodies are controlled in contemporary society.

Social Media
  • newspapers- powerful source of media
  • changing appearance to post selfies to get more likes, competition
  • popularity, friends, likes on photos
  • controls the ‘norms’ of our society as young people, determines fashion trends
  • feel more confident and powerful on social media
  • cookies- online cookies always internet to see what you have been looking at, tailors sites to be what you want to see
  • knowledge less historical, just search something on google

Control through gender expectation

We expect men and women to dress differently.

Men dressed as a women is usually for a comedic affect. Cultural context: men wear kilts in Scotland.

Marc in skirts (Carreno, 2014) Marc Jacobs wears kilts.

Screen Shot 2017-02-23 at 15.11.38.png
Marc Jacobs

Eddie Izzard- transgresses boundaries of masculinity. Still quite masculine, still a man but wears women clothing. Some gay men have also added a contribution to fashion.

Screen Shot 2017-02-23 at 15.12.53.png
Eddie Izzard


  • The body in the past was controlled through relion
  • Now, more complex and pervasive



Author: emiliasfineartblog

BA (Hons) Fine Art Student studying at Cardiff Metropolitan University

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