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Notes On The Perfect

Angela Mcrobbie
Published 2015 · Sociology

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Abstract This article argues that at a point in time when feminism (in a variety of its forms) has re-entered political culture and civil society, there is, as though to hold this threat of new feminism at bay, an amplification of control of women, mostly by corporeal means, so as to ensure the maintenance of existing power relations. However the importance of ensuring male dominance is carefully disguised through the dispositif which takes the form of feminine self-regulation. The ‘perfect’ emerges as a horizon of expectation, through which young women are persuaded to seek self-definition. Feminism, at the same time, is made compatible with an individualising project and is also made to fit with the idea of competition. With competition as a key component of contemporary neoliberalism, (pace Foucault) the article construes the violent underpinnings of the perfect, arguing that it acts to stifle the possibility of an expansive feminist movement. It recaptures dissenting voices by legitimating and giving space in popular culture to a relatively manicured and celebrity-driven idea of imperfection or ‘failure’.
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A similar incorporation of imperfection into the slogans and advertisements of 'womenfriendly' beauty products such as Dove is analysed by
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In a similar vein to this article Hark very recently sees that feminism in its new guise could be so easily cathected to the purposes of 'success
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The most frequently 'seen' couple in this regard are Ellen DeGeneres and her wife Portia de Rossi who are regularly pictured as they go about their everyday life including visits to beauty salons etc

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