Submission Date

7-23-2015

Document Type

Paper

Department

Media & Communication Studies

Faculty Mentor

Alice Leppert

Project Description

Power, politics, and the impact of societal opinion are outlined in Michel Foucault’s theory of biopolitics. This theory explains how historical reconstructions of our biological influences, our attitudes and senses of understanding, have an effect on how we see the world and subsequently develop governing guidelines—thus effecting how we live our lives. Based on this concept, Foucault expanded his analysis to incorporate what he calls “neo-liberalism.” Aside from its classic definition of a free-market economy that is based on competition and inequality, neoliberalism also highlights the privilege of the individual. Implementing neoliberal ideals into social constructs implies that the elementary elements of fundamental society (the way we talk, biologically develop, grow and exist) are controlled by the establishment of new technologies that directly influence personal behavior. As Americans, many of us develop some of our societal ideals regarding gender, appearance and race from television programming. This project specifically explores the culture of post-feminist ideals represented in modern television shows like Keeping Up With the Kardashians and The Bachelor. It investigates the proclivity of these programs to fashion women into incessant consumers by calling on the neoliberal model of reinventing the self, or “making over” the body, to conform to governing standards implemented by society that dictate the meaning of prosperity and achievement.

Comments

Presented during the 17th Annual Summer Fellows Symposium, July 24, 2015 at Ursinus College.