본문 바로가기
  • Home

From the Othered Body to the Living Body: Centering the Body Images in the Song of Songs

Park, Ji-Eun 1

1이화여자대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This article re-examines our perception of body images of ourselves and others in current society where physical appearance is capitalized and commercialized through the investigation of the body images in the Song of Songs. The human body, which was inferior to the human mind under the Greek dichotomous mind/body scheme, has been revalued and harmonized with the mind by modern Western discourse. However, particular human bodies, along with an over-emphasis on the human body in general, have been considered superior and more beautiful according to a standard set by a certain group of people in our society. As a result, some, particularly those who have bodies that do not fit this standard, are alienated and risk their lives to reshape their bodies through plastic surgery. Women's bodies, rather than men's, are more exposed to suffering from these social expectations and standards. Women's bodies are usually described negatively in the Hebrew Bible as well. However, women's body images in the Song of Songs represent the natural female body rather than embodying social prejudice. Even though women's body images in the Song of Songs may be viewed as grotesque, as Fiona Black suggests, this argument overlooks the question of whose perspective is being reflected. In other words, the distinction between ugly/grotesque and beautiful or between normal and abnormal reflects a social perspective that has been naturalized by a particular discourse. Accordingly, the article tries to generate an unbiased perspective, perceiving the bodies of ourselves and others as they are, without evaluating and judging them through social/othering eyes or distorted eyes.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.