||In the divergent studies of women’s body politics, Michel Foucault’s notions on power/knowledge have been much appropriated to decipher the microphysics of power which operate and/or being operated on female bodies. However, Foucault’s power/knowledge frameworks in terms of body politics are usually read to be a certain kind of testimony of the patriarchal power’s maneuver and women’s unconsciously incarnation of that. As such, we usually see mainstream feminists conclude that, on the one hand, the body/beauty industry is commercially vested and patriarchally motivated, and on the other hand, the female consumers are the cultural dupes beguiled by media hypes. |
However, in contrast to the mainstream feminists’ one-sided reading of female body politics, my task here is not to make a competing claim that body/beauty industry and consumption are all good or all bad. Rather, I am here to probe into a more sophisticated yet a more realistic situation: How are the female “body/beauty-builders” able to develop one’s personal body politics so as to construct their own subject and self-identity under the modern body/beauty market? How these women as consumers select, negotiate or interact in a complex structural and power relations so as to benefit and empower themselves? In short, it is not only concerned about what body/beauty systems do to the women, but more about what the women as consumers and subjects do to the systems.
Therefore, while the Spa industry is emerging as a chic body/beauty industries, opening up new aspects of thinking and acting for both beauty industries and consumers, in the thesis, the burgeoning Spa trend would be itself an unexplored yet unique case study for the body/beauty building politics. By bringing forth the Spa-related ads, literatures and promotions, I will demonstrate firstly, how the modern Spa is fashioned as an encapsulated concept of leisure, health and beauty which all in all makes Spa itself distinct from the earlier body/beauty institutions, and secondly, .how the burgeoning Spa culture/industry creates and supports a special “body-hedonism” or “body/pleasure-positive” milieu for the customers to enjoy treatments with righteousness. Additionally, by illustrating eight interviewees’ personal Spa-related bodily experiences and embodied practices, I will exemplify how the Spa practices can be a way for women to take their bodies, and mostly, their lives in hand.
Under three themes: body, subjectivity and agency which are the trajectories running through four chapters in the thesis, my observation shows: First, because Spa’s image-buildings mainly focus on the forms of “nature, purity, simplicity and back-to-basic living”, these images one the one hand offer turning points for body/beauty enterprises to advance full-scale developments and/or re-package up its enterprise figure. And on the other hand, these images afford “proper” reasons that Spa-goers could utilize to contend with conventionalists’ censorious mouths. Secondly, under Spa’s body/pleasure-positive milieu, it opens up a new mode of self-imaging, a new way of embodying and a new aspect of enjoying multiplicities of wishes, desires, sensations, pleasures and satisfactions. Lastly, the construal of Spa is the combination of body politics and life politics which offers solid and positive chances/channels for individuals to “do/make body”, “do/make pleasure” and “do/make self”.
||Acker, Kathy. Bodies of Work. London and New York: Serpent’s Tail, 1997.|
Alexander Health Club (亞歷山大健康俱樂部). Home page. 26 Oct. 2001 <http://www.alexander.com.tw/>.
Bartky, Sandra L. “Foucault, Femininity, and the Modernization of patriarchal power.” The Politics of Women’s Bodies: Sexuality, Appearance, and Behavior. Ed. Rose Weitz. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1998. 25-45.
Benedict, Barbara M. “Consumptive Communities: Commodifying Nature in Spa Society.” The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation 36.3 (1995): 203-19.
Benge, Sophie. The Tropical Spa: Asian Secrets of Health, Beauty and Relaxation. Hong Kong: Periplus, 1999.
Bordo, Susan R. “The Body and the Reproduction of Femininity: A Feminist Appropriation of Foucault.” Gender/Body/Knowledge. Ed. Alison M. Jaggar and Susan R.Bordo. New Jersey: Rutgers. 13-35.
---. Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture, and the Body. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993.
Chung, Jin-hua (張錦華). “Audio-Video Education of Mass Media: A Case Study of “Rejuvenation-Ad(〈從“返老還童”廣告看媒體視聽教育〉).” Educational Journal of Mass Media Reading/Listening (《媒體識讀教育月刊》). 1 Feb. 2001. 29 May 2001 <http://www.learn.taipei.gov.tw/089995/theme/6.htm >.
Chung, Jin-Hua and Hao-rong Huang (黃浩榮). “Rejuvenated Women? Moronic Men? (〈還童的女性？弱智的男性？〉)” China Times (《中國時報》) 18 Dec. 2000:15.
Davis, Kathy. “Embody-ing Theory: Beyond Modernist and Postmodernist Readings of the Body.” Embodied Practices: Feminist Perspectives on the Body. Ed. Kathy Davis. London: Sage, 1997. 1-23.
---. Reshaping the Female Body: The Dilemma of Cosmetic Surgery. New York: Routledge, 1995.
Foucault, Michel. Discipline & Punish: The Birth of the Prison. Trans. Alan Sheridan. New York: Vintage Books, 1977.
---. “Technologies of the Self.” Technologies of the Self: A Seminar With Michel Foucault. Ed. Luther H. Martin, Huck Gutman and Patrick H. Hutton. London: Tavistock Publications, 1988. 16-49.
---. The Care of the Self: The History of Sexuality, Vol. III. New York: Vintage Books, 1984.
---. The History of Sexuality. Vol. 1: An Introduction. New York: Vintage Books, 1978.
---. “The Subject and Power.” “Afterword.” Michel Foucault: Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics. 2nd ed. Ed. Hubert Dreyfus and Paul Rainbow. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1983. 208-26.
---. “Truth and Power.” Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings 1972-1977. Ed. Colin Gordon. London: Harvester, 1980. 32-75.
Giddens, Anthony. Modernity and Self-identity: Self and Society in the Late Modern Age. Cambridge: Polity Press, 1991.
Grosz, Elizabeth. “Bodies-Cities.” Sexuality and Space. Ed. Beatriz Colomina. New Jersey: Princeton Architectural Press, 1992. 241-253.
---. Volatile Bodies: Toward a Corporeal Feminism. Indianapolis: Indiana UP, 1994.
Heywood, Heslie. “Masculinity Vanishing: Bodybuilding and Contemporary Culture.” Building Bodies. Ed. Pamela L. Moore. New Jersey and London: Rutgers UP, 1997. 166-183.
Huang, Zong-hui (黃宗慧). “Mainstream Standard of Sexiness, Unilateral Emancipation of Bodies (〈主流性感標準與片面身體解放〉).” China Times 22 Dec. 2000: 15.
Jelatic Body Work. Advertisement. Jelatic April 2000: N. pag.
Ka, Wei-Bo (卡維波). “The Ageing Critique, The Moronic Feminism. (〈老化的媒體批評，弱智的女性主義〉)” China Times 21 Dec. 2000: 15.
---. “Transgender Aesthetics: A Preliminary Investigation,” Proceedings of the Miniature Conference on Transgender: Alternative Question about Female Sex/Sexual Subjectivity (《女「性」主體的另類提問II—跨性別小型學術研討會》). Chungli: Sex-Pol Center, 2000. 1-13.
---. “Young and Smart Left? Adult and Silly Left?—The Left Politics in Youth Popular Culture (B) (〈青春睿智的左派？成年癡呆的左派？──青少年通俗文化的左翼政治（下）〉).” Online posting. Body and Media Critique Forum. 1 Dec. 2001 <http://intermargins.ncu.edu.tw/Forum/2001%20Jan-June/Youthful/>.
Kao, Yan-mei (高美燕). Beauteous Spa Trip in Taiwan(《台灣美麗Spa之旅》). Taipei: ToGo Travel, 2001: 55.
Lin, Yu-ling (林宇玲) “The Ideal of Slendeness in Taiwan’s Diet Ads from Foucault’s Framework of Power/Knowledge.” Journal of Woman and Gender Studies 7 (1996): 1-26.
Moore, Pamela L. “Feminist Bodybuilding, Sex, and the Interruption of Investigative Knowledge.” Building Bodies. Ed. Pamela L. Moore. New Jersey and London: Rutgers UP, 1997. 74-86.
Simone, De Beauvoir. The Second Sex. New York: Bantam Books, 1968.
Sinclair, John, et al. Collins Cobuild English Dictionary. Bermingham: Harper Collins Publishers, 1995.
Slavin, Sara and Karl Petzke. The Art of the Bath. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1997.
Smith, Dorothy. Texts, Facts and Femininity: Exploring the Relations of Ruling. New York: Routeledge, 1990.
Song, Zu-ci (宋祖慈). Trips of Sensation: 11 Ways of Spa Magic (《性靈感官之旅：11種Spa 美麗魔法》). Taipei: ToGo Book, 1998.
Spa. Advertisement. Evergreen (《常春月刊》). January 2001: 87.
“Spa Lifystyle.” Taraspa Home Page. 20 Feb. 2002 <http://www.taraspa.com/SpaLIfestyle/Rituals>.
Young, Iris Marion. “Breasted Experience: The Look and the Feeling.” The Politics of Women’s Bodies. Ed. Rose Weitz. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1998. 125-136.
Chang, Mei. Personal interview. 30 July 2001.
Chen, Lily. Personal interview. 20 June 2001.
Deng, Gin. Personal interview. 26. June 2001.
Dong, Sue. Personal interview. 23 Feb. 2002.
Lee, Gigi. Personal interview. 2 March 2002.
Lu, Fenny. Personal interview. 2 March 2002.
Wu, Cindy. Personal interview. 29. Feb. 2002.
Zeng, Jewel. Personal interview. 17 Jan. 2002.