Since the twentieth century women have beenseen by society as having to have a slender body, wear makeup, have the latesthairstyles and dress in the latest’s fashions to be recognized as attractive(Bordo 2017: 79).
Accomplishing all of this makes women feel like they haveself-confidence, willpower and personal value. Even today woman feel the needto exercise vigorously, go on a diet to stay thin and dress in the fashions wesee advertised in order to feel good about themselves. Susan Bordo’s article The Body and the Reproduction of Femininityfocuses on the pressures placed on women and the ways in which women strugglewith these pressures. All of this pressure can cause women to lose control anddevelop illnesses like anorexia, agoraphobia and hysteria.
Women face many pressures from society like theexpectation to be perfect. Susan Bordo believes that this pressure along withall of the other things that women have to deal with can lead to a disordercalled anorexia. Anorexia is a disorder in which women have a desire to loseweight by refusing to eat.
Women think if they change their body size they areable to gain male power and self-control (Sully 2012). Also, our cultureadvertises women with a slender body which makes women feel like they have tobe as skinny as the models in the magazines. When the media places skinny womennext to a muscular man it shows women as fragile with lack of power in thepresence of a male (Bordo 2017: 81). As women gain power in their life theirbodies suffer. An anorexic woman and a housewife share similarities like feedingand nurturing others before themselves. They find feeding themselves first asgreedy (Bordo 2017: 81). Susan Bordo believes that women are hungry for publicpower, for independence and sexual gratification because of what is expected ofthem (Bordo 2017: 81). Society needs to stop creating an unrealistic image ofwhat women should look like so women don’t feel the need to be perfect.
Agoraphobia began to rise in women in the 1950’sand the 1960’s when the perfect woman was expected to take care of the homealong with their babies and their husband (Bordo 2017: 81). Agoraphobia is adisorder where one avoids situations that might make them panic and feeltrapped. Women spent so much time inside the home not socializing with otherpeople that they became afraid of doing anything outside of the house. Theylost the ability to be social.
That same ideal image of femininity was shownin TV shows and movies in that era which made women look like they were non-assertiveand useless without a man (Bordo 2017: 81). Women spent so much time in thehome that they felt restricted and controlled. Hysteria is a loss of emotional control thatwas considered a women’s disease.
Women tried to live up to society’sexpectations of being perfect all the time that sometimes they becamehysterical. They thought they needed to do more or be more than who they reallywere to prove their worth in the world. A woman would rushto get everything done in the house before her husband came home from work likethe cooking and the cleaning to try to please her husband or be the ideal imageof a woman. Women wouldget nervous and get the shakes and sometimes even faint (Bordo 2017: 80). Their moods would change suddenly for any reason(Bordo 2017: 80).
These are signs of hysteria.Hysteria prevented women from effectively completing their role of being a wifeand caretaker to their husband and children. Basically, when women becomehysterical they become the ideal image of the male-controlled culture (Bordo 2017: 80). SusanBordo’s article The Body and the Reproductionof Femininity says that society uses cultural images to control women.Women are expected to follow these images by wearing makeup, doing their hair, wearingthe right clothes and following the latest diet fad.
When women put too muchpressure on themselves trying to do all of what society expects of them theycan experience illnesses like anorexia, agoraphobia and hysteria. Women need to stopbeing dependent on the male figure, have their own career, stop trying to belike the images they see on the media and just be who they want to be, the bestversion of themselves.