Blood, Sweat, and Tears: Menstruation  and the Internalization of Power Structures

Kaitlynn Rookes


According to Michel Foucault’s concepts of the processes and relations of power and discipline the body can exist as the object of disciplinary practices but also as a source of resistance to those practices.The following examples of women subverting social norms surrounding menstruation serve to highlight the importance of these acts of resistance. The bodies of women are inhibited by both the medical and male gaze, as well as by the perceptions of outsiders taken on by women themselves. This illustrates the internalization of dominant power structures which thus cause women to discipline their own bodies in order to fit within prescriptive norms. Loss of agency over the body in relation to external structures and regulation of the body through medicalized measures serve as examples of discipline and control.


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