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Bailey And Foucault Essay

674 words - 3 pages

In the second half of the book From Front Porch to Back Seat, Beth Bailey explains the issue of sex control and the definition of ‘Masculinity’ / ‘Femininity’. It is critical to note the fact that the changes after the Nineteenth-century ‘were not sexual acts so much as what those acts meant – how they were perceived.’ (Bailey, 77) During this time, young men and women, who defined themselves as ‘youth’, had lead the celebration of sexuality, and had flourished ‘partly through public sexuality and sexual experimentation. (Bailey, 78) The adviser from the Ladies’ Home Journal had commented “It was beginning to seem, she said, that young men and women between about fifteen and twenty ‘expected handholding and kissing.” (Bailey, 79) With the aid of the mass media, the notion of ‘Adults vs. Youth’ became the popular notion during this period. It is also important to shed light on the fact that ‘dating was an unequal relationship: the man paid ...view middle of the document...

(Foucault, 3) He then states three questions regarding this term and explains the relationship between sex and power.
As stated in Bailey and Foucault’s’ work, sexuality was something that took place in privacy. In a sense, the two have similar ideologies regarding power attempting to suppress or control sex as a whole. This notion was evident in both pieces with regards to children’s sexuality. Foucault explains the system of secondary school during the 18th century where students were separated according to their gender while strict curfews were forced upon them. (Foucault, 27-9) This was also seen in Bailey’s work where chaperoning and curfews were taken into action by academic facilities in fond hope of controlling the inevitable outbursts of youth sexuality. (Bailey, 84) The issue of ‘imagery’ and religion had also appeared in both texts, yet, it is important to note the different perspectives regarding this topic. Bailey succeeds this by illustrating gender roles (the difference between Masculinity and Femininity), while Foucault only explains how confession had served as a form of counseling and how science had categorized specific groups of people. (Foucault, 19-25) Both of these ideas started off as a matter of public interest at first, (i.e. to appear desirable as a potential partner, sex as something to be studied and/or analyzed) nevertheless, this factor had grown into an object of public analysis. In Chapter one (Part II), Foucault argues that the subject of sex has been increasing since the 17th century rather then being repressed. At the same time, he shows how the mentality of the average people had transformed over time into something more analytical. This shift could be supported through Bailey’s work where ‘Youth’ were prohibited to indulge in sexual activities and how their attitudes had undergone a drastic change since the end of World War II.
As an overall conclusion, it appears as if Bailey’s work follows a parallel line with Foucault’s conception of sexuality. In other words, the two have similar basis in constructing their arguments. However, I feel that it is important to note how Foucault had failed to explain the social/societal changes regarding sexuality, for he lacks significant information on the topic of gender roles and love.

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