United States of Tara Viewed Under Feminist Scope

2586 Words Nov 29th, 2013 11 Pages
United States of Tara Viewed Under Feminist Scope
In a world structured by male patriarchy, women are constantly criticized and abused. This is the case for Tara Gregson of the television series United States of Tara. She is a woman, wife, and mother dealing with DID (dissociative identity disorder), formerly known as multiple personality disorder. After being subjugated to sexual abuse as a child, her mind was not able to conform to society’s ideal for her. Through her multiple personalities she struggles with Sandra Bartky’s idea of a docile body and is further excluded from the supposedly supportive feminist community, and society in general, because of her disability as discussed by Garland-Thomson. Through this paper I will explain
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Many feminist topics are considered throughout the show, but, for the purposes of this paper, I will focus on her docile body and exclusion from other women’s acceptance due to her disability, which both nicely intersect.
Sandra Lee Bartky wrote in “Foucault, Femininity, and the Modernization of Patriarchal Power” that society performs as an all seeing being that is there to judge how women look and act. This causes women’s bodies to become docile bodies. The word ‘docile’ means complaisant, submissive, and unassertive. With the world under patriarchal power, women must submit themselves to ideals set forth on them by men. While it may be unnoticeable, women are constantly conforming themselves to be accepted, if not by men, then by other women. All women “punish themselves for the failure to conform” (Bartky, 104). There are many comments made in United States of Tara that show how Tara and her alters are affected by male domination and how they deal with it. As I explain scenes throughout this paper, keep in mind that Tara has internalized these patriarchal hypocrisies growing up and through her alters she makes satirical comments that critique society.
For instance, T says, “we’re gonna buy cheap, hot clothes that makes us look insecure” and is even willing to get a tattoo of the word ‘slut’. Here T clearly knows that buying cheap, hot clothes is expected of women because looking insecure makes men feel