What do you see in these images? Do you understand them, what they’re trying to convey? How do these images make you feel? Do they offend or do they inspire you, and do you see them the way I do?
This week, the discussion within BCM110, was the concept of representation and interpretation, and Semiotics.
Semiotics, is a system of codes which are set for connecting a sign and it’s meaning or, alternatively, meanings. It’s the idea that more than one individual can decode symbols the same way and thus perceive and connect the meaning to the same sign. Think of traffic lights and the connotation of the colours: red equals stop. Think of how this overlaps with other social signs. For example, a Stop sign.
Semiotics is what the media relies on for the majority of its content. However, with this comes the issue of misinterpretation. How can you assume or know that everyone exposed to your media message will understand? The thing is really you can’t.
The two images above are promo advertisements for SAVAGE X FENTY 2019 Spring Collection. The denotation that can be drawn from these ads are simple, body expressive, body positivity and self love. What does this mean to you? To me these images drip with confidence and expression, the color range not only from skin but to the clothing suggests the inclusivity of the collection, that IT IS made for everyone. It’s empowering.
Yet, personally I’m having a love/hate relationship. Now, don’t get me wrong, we need inclusivity in the world and the ever growing presence of that in the media is great. However, have you ever sat back back and felt bad? My body type is represented, and as a currently overweight girl I love to see it. Yet, here I am wondering why I can’t feel good about myself no matter what I do when it is clearly shown to me that I can be. She feels good wearing it then why don’t I? Sometimes these largely set me back negatively mentally. An article about The Negative Business of Body Positive Advertising, explores these thoughts. “All I see…another corporation profiting off of the body positive movement while still aiming to convince women that they need to buy a product in order to love themselves.”
Semiotics. That is the problem with it. You can never guarantee that the receiver will have the same connotation. In comparison, that is why the media will never be a place full of positivity, because your positivity might not be another’s. It’s an ongoing loop.
Nevertheless, there is nothing wrong with body campaigns, in fact they are a small pocket of good in the media of recent years. It just goes to show how personal connections really are and how, really, you can never be sure that the decoding will be the same over the broad spectrum. Whether the media makes a difference of good or bad ultimately depends on us, the audience.
Tremr. (2015). The Negative Business of Body Positive Advertising. [online] Available at: https://www.tremr.com/talia/the-negative-business-of-body-positive-advertising [Accessed 21 Apr. 2020].
Beasley, R. and Danesi, M. (2010). Persuasive Signs: The Semiotics of Advertising. [online] Google Books. Walter de Gruyter. Available at: https://books.google.com.au/books?hl=en&lr=&id=KsdJ4T_ltF4C&oi=fnd&pg=PR5&dq=semiotics+in+advertising&ots=ij6lq__Ept&sig=0mrQK-zZkPiIpWgLg5zWvp63YbI&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=semiotics&f=false [Accessed 21 Apr. 2020].
Leeuwen, T.V. and Jewitt, C. (2000). The Handbook of Visual Analysis. [online] Google Books. SAGE. Available at: https://books.google.com.au/books?hl=en&lr=&id=9ySh2-NtKXUC&oi=fnd&pg=PA134&dq=who+invented+semiotics&ots=JgvhpOWser&sig=ojbRNLw7PzfPSpIuU_gIobbGTGw&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=who%20invented%20semiotics&f=false [Accessed 21 Apr. 2020].
Savagex.com. (2019). SAVAGE X FENTY | Lingerie by Rihanna. [online] Available at: https://www.savagex.com/