True Beauty Should Not Be Ignored or Punished!

When talking about docile bodies, we mostly think about the female body because of how it is portrayed in society through the media. We get a sense of how our society views the female body and how we should view the female body by the constant visual representation of models and celebrities in magazines and advertisements. When it comes to photo shoots for models or celebrities, the model or celebrity becomes the docile body because the people in charge of the photo shoot will have the ultimate decision as to what photograph will be published for the world to see. The people in charge of the photo shoot are able to control how the docile body is perceived and viewed by the public, but mostly intended for the male gaze. Usually if the model or celebrity does not look like the standard “normal” woman, she will be altered with airbrush or by photoshop, therefore being a manipulated docile body. Most women feel self conscious when they see the models in magazines and advertisements because their bodies look unrealistic and unattainable and therefore feel the need or desire to conform to the “normal” body. Some women go as far as getting cosmetic surgery to fix their insecurities or imperfections. In “The Prisoner of Gender: Foucault and the Disciplining of the Female Body”, Angela King explains this growing trend when she says, “Though surgery continues to gain popularity amongst men, the vast majority of people trying to ‘correct’ themselves are women”(36).

One celebrity in particular that has been a recent victim in being manipulated as a docile body and photoshopped for a magazine is Zendaya. When Zendaya found out she was photoshopped for a photo shoot in a magazine, she took to Twitter to show her discomfort and defend her natural body. She called out the magazine for photoshopping her picture to make sure they wouldn’t run the magazine with the photoshopped picture and the magazine apologized and agreed to retract the image. She stood up for herself to show that she loves her natural body and in doing so, she wasn’t a docile body anymore. She didn’t want to give her fans the wrong message about their bodies and she let them know that they should love their bodies as well, no matter what size or shape. By the magazine photoshopping her body, it proved that in society women’s bodies are viewed as objects and should only be viewed from the outside. Angela King defends this argument in her article when she says, “ Turning woman into an ornamented surface requires an enormous amount of discipline and can cause discomfort, not to mention untold feelings of inadequacy. It cements woman’s status as body, confirming her role as primarily decorative” (36). The photoshopping of Zendaya’s body made her feel bad about herself because her natural body wasn’t good enough for the magazine. Due to her anger of being exploited and manipulated, she was able to reciprocate the exploitation to the magazine by posting the original photograph, while unmasking the deceit of not accepting Zendaya’s natural body. By posting her real photograph and not allowing her fans to be deceived by her photoshopped body, she not only stood up for herself and her body, but for all women. Due to the nature of our society where women are viewed as objects and appreciated more for their appearance, there is very little room for women to voice their opinion or challenge the role of patriarchy in women’s lives.