This form of power can be seen in the modern discourse
around the desire for the “ideal body”. Power operates by the creation of a
desire to achieve the “ideal body” through the monitoring of body weight. Historically,
the definition of a ‘normal’ body has become increasingly narrow, the terms ‘thin’
and ‘healthy’ now being treated as synonymous. The media and advertising
industries only serve to re-inforce this notion, portraying the thin body as
healthy, beautiful and sexy whilst the unfit and overweight body is considered
immoral and irresponsible – a ‘deviant’ from the given norm. Individuals
internalise this moral discourse and begin a process of self-surveillance. This
self- monitoring is enabled through commercial products such as calorie
counting apps, diet books, slimming products, exercise machines, and countless television
programs centered around weight loss. This discourse is successful as it is
able to associate itself with desire. The fitness discourse becomes linked with
not only morality and discipline, but also to pleasure. Exercise becomes
equated with fun and control over one’s body becomes a form of empowerment
(Pylypa 1998)


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