17 September 2010

Female Being is Being-Perceived


French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu explains that 'female being is being-perceived'. 

"Masculine domination, which constitutes women as symbolic objects whose being ... is a being-perceived ... , has the effect of keeping [us] in a PERMANENT STATE OF BODILY INSECURITY, or more precisely, of symbolic dependence. 

[We] exist first through and for the gaze of others ...


[We] are expected to be 'feminine' ... and what is called 'femininity' is often nothing other than a form of indulgence towards real or supposed male expectations, particularly as regards the aggrandizement of the ego. 

As a consequence, dependence on others ... tends to become constitutive of [our] being. 

Continuously under the gaze of others, [we] are condemned constantly to experience the discrepancy between the real body to which [we] are bound and the ideal body towards which [we] endlessly strive.  Needing the gaze of others to constitute [ourselves], [we] are continuously oriented in [our] practice by the anticipated evaluation of the PRICE that our 

bodily appearance,
[our] way of bearing and presenting it,
may receive (hence the more or less marked propensity to

and to the embodiment of social judgement 
in the form of 

p h y s i c a l  e m b a r a s s m e n t 


T I M I D I T Y."

(Bourdieu, P. (2001). Masculine domination. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.)


Stavro Christo said...

Honored to relate our video to a text by Pierre Bourdieu

and as Bourdieu has also written:

"In other words, we have to move beyond the opposition between objectivist theories which identify the social classes (but also the sex or age classes) with discrete groups, simple countable populations separated by boundaries objectively drawn in reality, and subjectivist (or marginalist) theories which reduce the ‘social order’ to a sort of collective classification obtained by aggregating the individual classifications or, more precisely, the individual strategies, classified and classifying, through which agents class themselves and others."

Distinctions. A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste. Conclusion. 1984, translated by Richard Nice, published by Harvard University Press, 1984

FlyingDakini said...

Excellent quote. Thank you Stavro, I agree wholeheartedly.

I suppose the title of the post might better have read "Symbolic Violence : .... " as that was the point attempting to be made. As Bourdieu noted in La "Sociologie est un sport de combat" 'symbolic violence' is of course participated in by all quite innocuously and this is precisely why its power is so great, even more shocking than physical violence. He noted Virginia Woolf's wry observation of the sexes, 'men play the best role', which amusingly includes all shades of aesthetic value.

I must add that as a work of art your video is breathtaking, moving, enthralling and satisfyingly thought provoking.

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