Policing Choice

jennifer lawrence poses with male colleagues

Did you catch the recent controversy over Jennifer Lawrence’s dress? It concerned a recent promotional photo shoot for a new movie, Red Sparrow.

It was identified, in multiple social media comments, as yet another example of the male gaze, of Hollywood using women and female sexuality for its own financial ends, of double standards, etc.

But then this came out:

Of course, it’s not difficult to one-up the response by suggesting that she, like any successful actor, has more than likely thoroughly internalized a particular ideology necessary for their success, and is thereby engaging in self-policing within the structures of a predetermined Hollywood gender dynamics… After all, her co-stars likely didn’t ponder over whether to show a little leg…

But whether that sort of retort is persuasive or not, this episode’s back and forth still serves as a wonderful little e.g. concerning issues of structure and agency, of viewpoint and interests, and of the manner in which exercising choice always functions within a regulated economy — one in which some free choices are either deemed wrong or might not be as free as they might at first seem.

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