While reading “The History of Sexuality – Volume 1: An Introduction” by Michel Foucault, his words were slightly perplexing. Therefore, please bear with me through this post if I interpreted anything incorrectly.
In this reading, Foucault discusses a few concepts to further understand this idea of sex and sexuality. One idea is the repressive hypothesis, which states that the history of sexuality is a history of repression; therefore, sex is something that, besides for reproductive reasons, is considered unlawful. Foucault also states that the only way to free ourselves from this hypothesis is to be more open about sex and discuss the topic more freely. However, the author disagrees with this concept and brings up the idea that discourse about sex has become greater as well as the idea that ones sexuality says a lot about their character.
Through this reading, Foucault wonders about the relationship between sex, power, and knowledge. The author discusses how he believes power is a multi-faceted object; it is both productive as well as repressive, found everywhere working in and on everything. Therefore, sexuality is a tunnel for power to flow through, and through individuals in society, power is able to freely flow throughout society itself. In the end, Foucault describes how we as a society believe that our sexuality is what makes us who we are; however, in reality, sexuality is simply just a social construct that makes us as a population easier to control.
Again, as mentioned before, if I am interpreting Foucault’s words correctly, I would have to mainly agree with what Foucault is saying. I disagree with Foucault when he states his disagreement with the repressive hypothesis. I believe that sex, while more widely accepted today, is something that was in fact repressed in earlier societies. Therefore, I agree with his latter statement that discussion regarding the topic of sex has become greater in more recent years. Sex can be seen throughout all of our society today. Many agencies will use this idea of “sex appeal” as advertising techniques and even many movies will use the idea of sex as their main theme (Knocked Up, Friends With Benefits, and No Strings Attached, just to name a few). Foucault was most definitely correct with his ideas expressed in this reading, and I believe that they are prevalent in society today.