What Kinds of Subjects and Objects? Gender, Consumer Culture, and Convergence
[Women] are said to be accounted for by these theories-and yet
they barely make an appearance. On the other hand, if and when
they do appear … they surface only as objects of various different
agencies … which are seen to act upon them and force them into
a particular range of roles. The question of how individuals make
certain modes of behavior their own, how they learn to develop
one particular set of needs as opposed to certain others, is never
addressed. (Haug 1987, 24)
Women are not only objects of male desire: they themselves play
a part in their creation as such. To see femininity in this way is to
identify a subjective aspect within being-as-object, and thus effec-
tively to recognize the inadequacy of the subject-object metaphor.
(Haug 1987, 131)
Consumer culture had discovered and begun to develop the un-
tapped resources of the male body.” (Bordo 1999, 18)
How then is the idealized body constructed in consumer culture today? Examining mainstream health and fitness magazines provides insight into dominant cultural constructions of “health” and by extension allows researchers to examine what constitutes a privileged body. Given the importance of sex assignment in Western culture, this body is always already a gendered body. However, what the assignment of sex means for
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Publication information: Book title: Body Panic: Gender, Health, and the Selling of Fitness. Contributors: Shari L. Dworkin - Author, Faye Linda Wachs - Author. Publisher: New York University Press. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 2009. Page number: 29.
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