Saturday, 5 November 2011

Iris Marion Young

I have been interested in Iris Marion Young's work for a few years now. She was born in 1949 and died recently in 2006. Her writing is interested in feminist social theory and one piece in particular stuck with me. It is called ‘On Female Body Experience: Throwing like a Girl’ and it was written in 1980. In it she described women as being overly aware and self- conscious of their bodies, leading to a feeling of incapability. Even though this text is generally concerned with Western women, and was written in 1980 I feel as though it is an interesting one to look at in order to investigate how we feel about our bodies today.

“An essential part of the situation of being a woman is that of living the ever-present possibility that one will be gazed upon as a mere body, as shape and flesh that presents itself as the potential object of another subject’s intentions and manipulations, rather than as a living manifestation of action and intention. The source of this objectified bodily existence is in the attitude of others regarding her, but the woman herself often actively takes up her body as a mere thing. She gazes at it in the mirror, worries about how it looks to others, prunes it, shapes it, moulds and decorates it.” 
Iris Marion Young, 'On Female Body Experience: Throwing like a girl and other essays'