Regulating bodies, power, control and why men don’t wear skirts

Power and Control

  • This week has explored the way in which power impacts on the body

Forms of control of the body

  • Patriarchy – men control a lot more than women (little research about who’s in charge of big companies)

Why is it important to consider control and the body?

  • We imagine that we are entirely free
  • But we’re not because we follow a lot of rules
  • We are not allowed to be naked in public
  • You can see a lot of naked bodies on the internet
  • Identity is a form of control

In the past how was the body controlled?

  • Religion
  • Appetite – actual sexual sins
  • Concept of heaven and hell (if you didn’t have a good life, you could be redeemed and be sent to heaven, or hell)

Art shows us that there is always one person in control with lots of people surrounding them.

Circular Prison

  • Tower in the middle of the prison
  • It was impossible for the guards to watch every prisoner at one time, but the prisoners couldn’t see if the guard was watching them or not
  • Prisoners behaved almost all of the time, because they were worried they might be seen

Visibility is a trap

CCTV –  You wouldn’t do something bad because you wouldn’t want to be caught. However, people still do it

You are no longer a subject, you are the object. (for example, in hospital you have your name put on your wrist, you are then turned into an object, you’re no longer a subject, there is no need for your communication)

An object is passive

When something is objectified it can be:

  • Owned
  • Might contain information
  • Is not free
  • Is not an owner
  • Doesn’t communicate

When something is a subject it can be

  • Free
  • Powerful
  • Doesn’t need to be controlled
  • Can communicate

Power over individuals is dispersed through society rather than in one location. Powers is dispersed through social systems and can be found in:

  • Schooling
  • Healthcare

Schools – Control through bells, timetabling and rules.

Healthcare – Health screening, hospitalisation

Group Work


  • Controls where you go
  • You have to pay for them
  • They are chipped
  • To get a passport, you need consent
  • Restricted date
  • It can be confiscated
  • You’re not allowed to use it in prison
  • Gender
  • To buy restricted items
  • Defines your nationality

Control through gender expectation

  • We expect men and women to dress differently
  • We have a long British tradition of men dressed as women
    • Shakespeare
    • Women weren’t allowed to act, so young men cross-dressed to act females parts
  • Men dressed as women for parties and other special occasions appears normal to us




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Year 1 Level 4 student at Cardiff Metropolitan University, studying BA (hons) Illustration A blog to reflect on my progress

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