Journeys of Embodiment at the Intersection of Body and Culture - Chapter 6: Re-capturing Qualified Freedom: Possibilities in Adult Women’s Journeys

Elsevier, Journeys of Embodiment at the Intersection of Body and Culture, The Developmental Theory of Embodiment, 2017, Pages 201-256
Niva Piran

Women’s body journeys throughout adulthood reflect both the continued hold of social structures on women’s bodies and, conversely, new possibilities of freedom from oppressive forces that facilitate acting in the world with embodied agency, comfort, and attuned self-care. Women’s common engagement in dismantling oppressive corsets in the physical, mental, and social power domains, processes that take place throughout adulthood, is indeed inspiring! Recapturing Physical Freedom involves enhancing joyful and attuned engagement with physical movement, physical safety, care of the body, and ownership of physical desire. In terms of Mental Freedom, developing a critical lens and a resistant stance toward widely disseminated constraining social molds, can work to liberate and expand embodied possibilities of engaging more fully with the world. As some women access resources (such as desired education or occupation) entailing social power, they may tend to rely less on obtaining social power through adhering to particular standards of appearance. Relational factors can reinforce adult women’s embodied agency in the world, both empowering relationships and membership in equitable communities.