Neoliberal and postfeminist intensification of gynaeoptic surveillance on beauty standards and the gendered female gaze


  • Ella Riley Leeds Beckett University


This contribution explores how neoliberal and postfeminist values have caused surveillance to intensify into a gendered female gaze where women watch other women and face pressure to compete with themselves and one another to achieve societal beauty standards. Due to advances in technology and the wider use of social media sites, women are constantly exposed to one another meaning the competition to reach beauty ideals is ever-growing. Gill (2007: 163) argues that postfeminist and neoliberal values can be seen to interchange as ‘an autonomous, calculating, self-regulating subject of neoliberalism bears a strong resemblance to the active, freely choosing, self-reinventing subject of postfeminism’. Against this context, this critical reflection will also examine the negative consequences of the constant surveillance and expectations for women to strive to become better versions of themselves by drawing on Walker et al. (2019) that it often leads to issues surrounding body image, body dysmorphia and cosmetic surgery, thus leaving us to question how much free choice women really have in modern society.