Violence against Women: Breast Implantation in Neoliberal-Capitalist Patriarchal Society
This paper examines the decision to undergo breast implantation in North America, placing it within the broader neoliberal-capitalist patriarchal context in which it is taken. The relationship between hegemonic gendered expectations of femininity in neoliberal-capitalist patriarchal society and women’s decision to undergo breast implantation is explored and analyzed through an overview and contrasting of feminist theories of empowerment, feminist theories of contextualized agency, and a gendered application of a Foucaultian analysis of social control. It is argued that these expectations and pressures constitute a symbolic violence that entices women to undergo breast implantation. The dialectical relationship between the symbolic and the “hard” violence is revealed through a literature review of women’s physical and emotional experiences of breast implantation, further exacerbated through the medico-legal complex. It is argued that the symbolic and “hard” violence enacted against women through breast implantation in neoliberal-capitalist patriarchal society can only be mitigated once it is named as such. The expansion of and contextualization of understandings of violence is imperative.
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