Ilse Ketelaars – S331345
Freedom of the Body

The image I choice for this assignment pictures a real woman and a similar looking woman who is made out of lego-blocks. In my opinion, the image represents the modern perception of the body. Simply being your body seems not to be enough in modern life. The body has become something a person can change, and thus it can be claimed that a person owns his or her body. Through several new developments, like cosmetic surgery, (permanent) changes of the body occur more frequently and also become more socially accepted. Therefore it could be said, that next to freedom of speech, and freedom of religion, there is a freedom of the body in place. An individual is free to ‘create’ his or her own body, just like a child builds his dream house out of lego-blocks.

This view is also mentioned by Turner, who explains that in history the body was a given. This can still be found in the Christian tradition, which states that the body is a person’s gift from God. According to Turner, the body in modern society is seen as a project. An individual makes decisions which in turn affect his or her body, examples of decisions are a person’s food preferences and exercise level.

Through deliberate changes made to the body, the body loses its biological concept and relates more to a cultural and societal norm. Irigaray also mentions this by stating that a female becomes a female through femininity and not through biological processes. Femininity in turn is a combination of a person’s appearance and behavior. Thus the meaning of the body depends on what an individual makes of the body.

Unfortunately, like almost every other human freedom, there are also risks concerning the freedom of the body. Within this freedom there is an ideal picture in place, which in modern life can affect the life of a person in a disastrous way. An example of the freedom of body gone wrong can be found in the contemporary ideal which plays an enormous importance on being thin. Which in turn is related to ‘new’ illness, like anorexia nervosa and bulimia.