What does Privacy Mean in a Digital Context?

“1- Privacy [mass noun] A state in which one is not observed or disturbed by other people. 1.1 – The state of being free from public attention.” (oxford dictionary, 2016) Privacy in a real world context refers to being free from onlookers into your life. for example, if you want to be private you may not share your affairs with others or allow people to come into your own space. Online privacy, however, is a different story. As with ‘real world’ privacy, online we are given the opportunity to pick and choose what we keep private (to an extent of course) using privacy settings. On Facebok for example we can choose who can view our posts, who can find our profiles online and even block users we don’t want viewing our posts. There is also the non-digital aspect where we can physically choose not to post things we don’t want people to see.

But it is important to question: How private really is the network? and can we really expect complete digital privacy?

websites such as facebook, google and twitter are extremely popular in 2016, why? because they are free digital platforms  “the end-user doesn’t want to pay to connect with friends online or search through an information directory” (Carey, 2015) but to provide this service, money needs to be injected from somewhere, if it isn’t consumers then it must come from advertisers. In order to get plenty of money from these advertisements the wesbites tailor the advertisements to the individual meaning you will only see advertisements relevent to you, meaning that you are more likely to buy what you are being sold.  “Facebook is following you. It can now use what you do outside its network – when you surf the web and use other apps on your smartphone – to target ads at you. ~Facebook says it needs the extra data to make its ads better.”(Fowler, 2014) This almost forces us to accept online tracking of almost EVERYTHING we do online in exchange for contact with our friends online. Although we are able to decide who views our posts on facebook we cannot stop facebook from looking at everything we do online. This can be edited within your privacy settings but even if you delete all information Facebook can use to tailor ads to you”Facebook reserves three pieces of information that it will never let you keep our of its ad-targeting system: your gender, age and where you live.” (Fowler, 2014) regardless of attempting to opt out of facebook’s ad-tailoring, your details do not remain private, they will still access some arguably personal information in order to tailor ads to you so online privacy only goes so far.

ultimately online privacy differs from ‘real world’ privacy as it is much harder for us to decide who can look at our information once we have signed terms and conditions which give up our privacy in a sort of trade as payment for the service.

References

Oxford Dictionary, (2016) privacy definition [online] available at: Oxforddictionaries.com (Accessed on: 22nd November 2016)

Carey, G (2015) do you really want complete digital privacy?  [online] available at: digitaltrends.com (accessed on: 22nd november 2016)

Fowler, G (2014) what can you do about facebook tracking [online] Available at: wsj.com/articles ( accessed on: 22nd November 2016)

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Community//Individuality: have digital networks disrupted existing ideas of community?

Social networks are infamous for reducing physical interactions between people. They are known to interrupt family life, reduce physical activity in children and even are a major influence on depression. A recent study by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine about the effects of social media habits on mood found that “the participants used social media 61 minutes per day and visited various social media accounts 30 times per week on average. what made the study alarming was that more than a quarter of the participants were classified as having ‘high’ indicators of depression.” (Chowdhry, 2016) In a sense, the digital network disrupts the existing idea of physical community as now a majority of peoples social interactions actually take place online as opposed to in the ‘real world’. Children are growing up with constant contact with the digital world meaning that they don’t see the need to interact with friends in real life “there’s no question kids are missing out on very critical social skills. in a way, texting and online communicating- it’s not like it creates a nonverbal learning disability, but it puts everybody in a nonverbal disabled context, where body language, facial expression, and even the smallest vocal reactions are rendered invisible.” (Steiner-Adair 2016) this could ultimately have a major impact on ‘real world’ community, with more people growing up to be socially inexperienced due to hours of exposure to the network where does that leave us in regards to community? is it possible that community will become an antiquated idea in the future? perhaps, yes,  less and less people with an ability to interact properly and thus unable to come together in the real world.

Groups of ‘trolls’ (“A person who makes a deliberately offensive or provocative online post”) (Oxford Dictionary, 2016)  are known for using online communities as a channel to spread hate and negativity. In 2015 Sean O’Brien was targeted by trolls online when a video of him dancing went viral. “Footage of O’Brien dancing happily were posted online in march with the message: “spotted this specimen trying to dance the other week. He stopped when he saw us laughing.” It prompted a wave of abuse,” (Khomami, 2015) (THE GUARDIAN). Trolls often hide behind a screen using anonymity to project hate upon others, breaking traditional ideas of community where people are close knit because they know each other. The social network allows people who would most likely never have met in the physical realm come together for a common purpose, in this case: trolling. However, all is not lost. The social network also creates a platform for people who do not know each other to come together to perform selfless acts, anonymity features allows people to be kind without expecting rewards and using online communities can help to spread awareness to far more people than if the information were to be shared purely in traditional local ‘real world’ communities.  Not long after the cruel comments were published “the 46-year-old financier from Liverpool attracted global support and was nicknames the “dancing man” by a social media campaign – #FindDancingMan – that tracked him down and revealed his identity.” (Khomami, 2015) This online community broke traditional ideas of community opting to come together globally thanks to the power of the social network. The group aimed to invite O’Brien to a Hollywood dance party in order to change his experience from negative to positive. But not only that ” They arranged for him to fly to California for the weekend’s events, which raised money for a range of anti- bullying charities.” (Khomami, 2016) so this community which would have never existed without the use of the social network not only changed the life of O’Brien but also enabled him to help to give back to others having similar experiences.

Although there are most definitely negative connotations with online communities, they most definitely have changed the way we interact as a community and opened us up to be able to do good or bad by people globally without moving from our sofas.

 

References:

Chowdhry, A. (2016)research links heavy facebook and social media usage to depression [online] available at: www.forbes.com/sites/amitchowdhry/2016/04/30/study-links-heavy-facebook-and-social-media-usage-to-depression/#5b7226847e4b (accessed on: 22nd November 2016)

Khomami, N. (2015) Fat-Shamed ‘Dancing Man’ Gets Own Back at Star-Studded Holywood Party [online] available at: Theguardian.com/technology/2015/may/25/dancing-man-fat-shamed-cyberbullies-hollywood-party?0p19G=c (accessed on: 22nd November 2016)

Steiner-Adair, C. (2016) (quoted in article) Ehmke, R. How Using Social Media Afects Teenagers [online] Available at: Childmind.org (accessed on: 22nd November 2016)

Oxford Dictionary (2016) Definition:Trolls [online] Available at: Oxforddictionaries.com (accessed on: 22nd November 2016)

 

What meanings are attached to visual codes of gender and sexuality? continuation..

Semiotics: Communication by means of signs.

C.S Pierce said “Signs take the form of words, images, sounds, odours, flavours, acts or objects, but such things have no intrinsic meaning and become signs only when we invest them with meaning.” (Chandler, 1994-2016) Ultimately, society and cultural norms are what define the meaning of signs. This means that they don’t necessarily reflect the truth but rather a stereotype or archetype defined by mankind (or ‘Myth’). Understanding signs is dependent on a shared meaning and understanding.

Roland Barthes developed semiotics and the concept of the sign further in order to use it as a tool for analysis of the way in which cultural values are communicated, produced and circulated. He studied how human beings use language, clothes, gestures, hair styles, and colour to convey to one another their tastes, emotions, ideal self image and the values of their society. This ideology is useful for people to express themselves and identify their social groups, class, culture/subculture  and even gender identity. But it can also be problematic in that through signs, assumptions are made based upon cultural norms and gender stereotypes, we can’t always take a sign as a denotation, sometimes it only has cultural connotations (and therefore can be described as a ‘myth’ as it’s meaning is based upon ideology rather than fact). Barthes (1957) writes in ‘Mythologies’ that ‘language needs special conditions in order to become myth:Every image or sign upholds and therefore produces the normative values they express.’ put simply, myths are based upon cultural and societal norms. For example: ‘Red means passion’ is a myth because it is based upon one culture or group’s perception of the meaning of the colour red based upon nurture rather than nature. Other cultures view the colour red as a sign of danger or prosperity or wealth depending upon how they are taught to view it by society.

In order to discuss ‘gender’ it is important to know how it differs from ‘sex’ and to understand the ideas of a gender spectrum and gender binary. Firstly ‘gender is not inherently nor solely connected to one’s physical anatomy.’ (Gender Spectrum, 2015) Sex is described as including ‘physical attributes such as external genitalia, sex chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones, and internal reproductive structures. At birth, it is used to assign sex, that is, to identify individuals as male or female.’ (Gender Spectrum, 2015) Our Sex is usually determined before we are born and can in certain cases be misinterpreted. On the other hand, Gender is more complicated and more difficult to determine from outward appearances or ‘signs’  Gender is a ‘complex interrelationship between an individual’s sex (gender biology), one’s internal sense of self as male, female, both or neither (gender identity) as well as one’s outward presentations and behaviours (gender expression) related to that perception, including their gender role. Together, the intersection of these three dimensions produces one’s authentic sense of gender, both in how people experience their own gender as well as how others perceive it.’ (Gender Spectrum, 2015) Within western culture there is an idea that gender is binary and by looking at the outward appearance of a person it can be determined wether a person is male or female. Many in the western world feel that one can either be male or female and this is assigned by doctors at birth and cannot be changed. In reality, gender presents itself as a spectrum and there are not two set boxes to place people in (i.e male/female) . Whilst many people in western culture are cisgendered (their gender identity matches the gender they were assigned at birth and their biological sex) there are a variety of genders that individuals define themselves as being. For example: Transgender individuals’ gender identity is different to the gender they were assigned at birth and they often identify as the ‘opposite’ gender. They often change their outward appearance using signs of their gender identity to signify their gender identity (i.e long hair if they identify as female, short hair if they identify as male.) there are also individuals who have no gender at all (known as gender neutral) and others who identify as gender fluid (both/a range of genders) As a spectrum there are many genders which can overlap or be entirely separate from each other. individuals, regardless of gender identity will often use signs and signifiers of gender within their outward appearance to show society how to approach them or to express their identity in a way many in our western society can understand.

“the two sex, two gender distinction is a socially created one, not natural.” (Jhally, 2009) We use various visual signs and signals to determine people’s genders upon first encounters. Just a few of these are: Hair length, colour/ style of clothing, build, gait and height. An example of this is the ‘pink for a girl, blue for a boy’ argument.’Like other social constructs, gender is closely monitored and reinforced by society. Practically everything in society is assigned a gender—toys, colors, clothes and behaviors are just some of the more obvious examples.’ (gender spectrum, 2015) for example: In the late 20th and early 21st century baby boys were always dressed in blue (a ‘masculine’ colour) and baby girls dressed in pink (a ‘feminine’ colour) This would help people to assume the sex of the child when they are too young for it to be obvious. But this distinction has been known to be taken into later life. Especially before the 2010s, a man would be assumed to be feminine or homosexual if he wore pink (and therefore assumed to be weaker as femininity is seen as a weakness) as pink was a ‘girl’s colour’ therefore having connotations with not being masculine or not being a man altogether. However, this has not always been the case (proving that signs and signals are learned).”Ladies’ Home Journal article in June 1918 said, “The generally accepted rule is pink for the boys, and blue for the girls. The reason is that pink, being a more decided and stronger color, is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl.” (Haartman, 2011) Although the connotations are switched from what we associate them with today, they are still the same in a sense: Women and girls must use signs and signals to present themselves as delicate and dainty whilst men and boys are expected to use them to present themselves as strong and capable so as to be ‘normal’ and people conform to these visual codes of gender because we are taught from a young age that is wrong to stray from the norm.The blue/pink discussion a prime example of how the semiotic codes of gender can change and evolve ‘One need only examine trends related to men wearing earrings or women sporting tattoos to quickly see the malleability of social expectations about gender.’ (gender spectrum, 215)

We use visual codes of gender in order to decide how we should approach and interact with them. an example of this is the way in which people walk.”Our ability to recognise someone as either male or female is absolutely fundamental to our ability to interact with them and [that] there is nothing natural about that recognition. It’s dependent on certain signals being communicated that allow us to position people in categories (male/female) that make sense to us.” (Jhally, 2009) A woman’s gait is expected to be elegant, perhaps even slightly nervous, narrow and unconfident whereas a man’s is expected to be strong, confident and wide. When we look at men who have a more ‘stereotypically feminine’ gait often there is an assumption that they are homosexual as society sees the man as emasculated and feminine and therefore assumes that this equates to homosexuality as we are taught through popular culture and homosexual stereotypes that these are the signs of a gay man (for example, programmes like ‘little Britain’ where homosexual characters are caricatured and given heightened feminine features) . It becomes problematic to make assumptions about gender and sexuality based upon these signs as, ultimately gender is a spectrum and is unique to the individual: everybody expresses themselves differently. It is now 2016 and people are beginning to understand the fluidity and spectrum of gender much more. We can’t simply rely on signs to help us to make assumptions upon someone’s gender or sexuality as how they identify should not be defined by a normative society.

In advertising “Female hands have a different relationship to reality than male ones. Female hands are shown not as assertive or controlling of their environment but as letting the environment control them. So, for example, when women are shown holding something it often looks as though it is just resting there, not being held in a strong manner.”(Jhally, 2009) This speaks volumes about the visual codes of gender being imposed upon us. The woman’s touch in advertising is superficial and weak therefore the word ‘woman’ has connotations with fragility, women are expected to be delicate and fragile and a delicate and fragile person will be categorised as feminine or female regardless of their gender identity. “In contrast, the masculine touch is powerful and assertive, presenting a different relationship to the world. instead of tentative, the male touch is utilitarian, controlling and bold.” (Jhally, 2009) Men are shown as strong, bold, powerful. A man’s touch is manipulative and powerful in advertisement. Therefore the normative values we hold on men are that they should be muscular, confident and able to easily manipulate an environment or situation. If someone can’t fit in to this category due to the signs they are showing then they will be immediately categorised as feminine or female (especially as many people believe in a gender binary). If a woman is seen as strong or as having a utilitarian, bold touch she is immediately categorised as ‘butch’ and therefore society sees her as homosexual (because, again, popular culture says that ‘unfeminine’ women cannot be heterosexual and therefore we use signals of strength to pigeon hole them into the category that we have been taught to put them in regardless of their true sexuality).

There are many men and women who are cisgendered and choose to dress as the ‘opposite’ gender as an art form, for work or even as a form of activism. They often use visual codes of gender and the connotations attached to these to their advantage in order to create a female or male illusion so as to play upon what it means to be a stereotypical male or female.  Often this is to prove the point that people don’t have to be put in a box and ‘you don’t have to fit a certain mould to make it in any industry’ (Sharon Needles, 2012)  Examples of this are drag queens, androgynous people and gender capitalists. Drag queens, for example, use visual codes of femininity such as heavy makeup, long hair, dresses and high heels in order to make themselves look like a stereotypical woman. They create the illusion of femininity often by using padding, waist trainers/ corsets and contouring to look like a socially defined beautiful woman (as women are expected to be thin, have hourglass figures and defined cheekbones.) This is in order to question our ideas of what is ‘feminine’ or ‘masculine’ and what is or can be beautiful,’Drag, and especially the drag for which RuPaul and her “girls” have become known, is intended to serve up our preconceptions about gender (and sometimes race), beauty, attraction’ (carpentier, 2016) It is not only drag queens who aim to change our perception of gender and beauty by using visual codes of gender to create an illusion. There are androgynous models who identify as gender capitalists. ‘a gender capitalist is someone who takes advantage of opportunities given to people based on their perceived sex or gender.’ (Bustle, 2015) Rain Dove, a gender capitalist who identified as a gay woman, uses her ‘masculine’ face (defined by society due to her defined cheekbones, short hair and muscular face) and her ‘feminine’ body to enable her to model for both mens and womenswear and to highlight issues with inequality. She uses the visual codes of gender for women and men in order to switch between her female self and her androgynous self.People pay attention to her because she is different and embracing her body  whilst still looking ‘feminine’ or ‘masculine’ meaning that she is able to reach a large audience and therefore promote gender equality and body positivity. On the other hand she is conforming to gender stereotypes using visual codes of gender to look stereotypically male (wearing suits) or female (wearing sexy lingerie ) which could be seen as problematic. Dove explains ‘I’m doing this because of the visibility I get to talk about a better future’ (Bustle, 2015)

Ultimately there are visual codes of gender that we are expected to display in order to conform and express our society’s normative values however, in modern day this is outdated and it can be problematic to assume somebody’s gender or sexual identity based on their outward appearance. We have all been taught from a young age to not judge a book by it’s cover yet almost every day we are making assumptions based on visual codes of gender, signs and signals in order to pigeon-hole people. Gender  and its visual codes can however be taken advantage of in order to promote body positivity, destroy normative ideas about gender, beauty, race and attraction through ‘gender bending’, drag and androgyny.

 

Bibliography

Barthel, D. (1988) ‘putting on appearances: gender and advertising’ Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

Barthes, R. (1957) ‘Mythologies: Roland Barthes’  New York: Hill and Wang

Berrick, G. (2015)WATCH: Model Rain Dove is Genderqueer ‘Gender Capitalist’ and Fashion Brand [online] available at: Pride.com/fashion/2015/09/17/watch-model-rain-dove-genderqueer-gender-capitalist-and-fashion-brand [accessed on: 30th May 2016]

Bustle (2015)Rain Dove: New York’s Androgynous Supermodel [online] Available at: youtube.com//watch?v=7fMSNpemTE0 [accessed on: 30th May 2016]

Carpentier, M. (2016) ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race: empathy and naked emotion are the point, not winning’ [online] Available at : theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2016/may/17/rupauls-drag-race-political-correctness-identity-gender [accessed on: 30th May 2016]

Chandler, D (2016) ‘Semiotics for beginners’ Available at http://www.visual-memory.co.uk/daniel/Documents/S4B/sem02.html [Accessed on: 8th February 2016]

Craig, S. (1992) ‘Men, Masculinity and the Media’  California: Sage Publications

Gender Spectrum (2015) Understanding Gender [online] Available at: Genderspectrum.org/quick-links/understanding-gender/ [accessed on: 30th may 2016]

Glover, D. Kaplan, c. (2009) ‘Genders’  New York: Routledge

Haartman, M. (2011) ‘The history of Pink for girls blue for boys.’  Available at: Jezebel.com/5790638/the-history-of-pink-for-girls-blue-for-boys. [Accessed on: 8th February 2016]

Hill, C. (2004) ‘Defining Visual Rhetorics’  New York: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, inc. 

Jhally, S. (2009) The codes of Gender . Available at: topdocumentaryfilms.com/codes-gender [accessed on: 8th February 2016]

Jeffreys, S. (2005) ‘Beauty and Misogyny’ New York: Routledge

Stern, C. (2015)‘My body is just as good as any Victoria’s Secret girl but they’ll never use me because I have a masculine face’: Androgynous model challenges beauty standards’  available at: dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3351162/Androgynous-model-challenges-Victoria-s-Secret-s-beauty-standards-posing-brand-s-lingerie-editing-faces-Angels-like-Candice-Swanepoel-Elsa-Hosk-body.html [online] [Accessed on: 30th May 2016]

Weitz, R. Kwan, S. (2014) ‘The Politics of Womens Bodies’  New York: Oxford University Press

 

Cultural appropriation and exoticism: for example, when is wearing a First nations feather head dress offensive and why?

Cultural appropriation and exoticism: for example, when is wearing a First nations feather head dress offensive and why?

cultural appropriation put simply is ” members of a dominant group exploiting the culture of less privileged groups — often with little understanding of the latter’s history, experience and traditions.” (Nittle, 2015) Exoticism, similarly “is merely decorative and superficial”(grant, 1993) For example: when white people fantasize about having a family with someone who is black in order to have mixed race children purely based upon their ‘beauty’ ” So this idea that being partially white is somehow more attractive or more desirable basically says that blackness is not attractive or desirable” (chescaleigh, 2015)

Cultural appropriation and exoticism both devalue the diversity of less privileged cultures and exploit those we (as white people) have oppressed for centuries purely for fashion, decoration or pleasure. A glaring example of cultural appropriation in recent years is festival fashion. This does not speak for every festival goer’s dress sense obviously but there are a large number of privileged people exploiting other cultures purely to look  ‘exotic’ or ‘tribal’. there are phrases which, in this context, are problematic in themselves. Particular problems are First Nations  Headdresses, bindis, dashikis, cornrows and dreadlocks amongst various ‘tribal’ prints which have basically been stolen mostly native american tribes by popular fashion labels. Many festivals have chosen to ban first nations headdresses due to cultural appropriation causing offence but still many people don’t understand the significance of the garment and what could be so offensive about basically stealing from another culture in the name of fashion and conformity.

Focusing specifically on the wearing of headdresses (appropriated so much that many call them hipster headdresses rather than referring to them as native american or first nations as they simply do not understand the heritage). an unnamed woman in a clip by buzzfeed (2015) explains the importance of the headdress and why appropriating it is offensive “if you go to a powwow and someone is wearing a headdress, that means something. every single feather on there has been blessed, every single bead has been meticulously placed. there are symbols on there that have deep spiritual meaning.”  many festival goers simply understand the aesthetics of the head dress, thus devaluing its spiritual importance within its specific culture. She continues, referencing a specific festival goer in a photograph: “it was a joke to her and for us to have fought for hundreds of years to maintain that identity and then to just make us a joke like this. it’s hurtful.”the wearing of traditional headdresses by those not associated with the culture (or given permission by that culture to own and wear the item- i.e a gift from somebody within the culture) instantly turns an entire culture into a costume, ignoring their values, faith and even their humanity. The woman goes on to explain “we have become sort of mythologized and we are actually people.” Native Americans become exoticised to the point where their culture has been reduced to a trend and this is the exact reason why cultural appropriation is offensive and wrong. It’s not about us and them and it’s most certainly not about trying to appreciate other cultures as this can be done without practically stealing from them without the knowledge of what you are wearing and its cultural significance. What it is about is devaluing and oppressing cultures by establishing dominance via (very often) white privilage. Cultures are treated as inferior the moment somebody dons them as a costume thus perpetuating the idea that it is fashionable if a white person does it but we can continue to oppress, ridicule and bully those wearing garments from their culture genuinely and this can even be seen on the level of those who believe ‘white is right’.

 

There are times when appropriating a culture is accepted however it is always important to understand the significance of a cultures artifacts, clothing and activities and give them credit for their contribution to whatever it is being appropriated. it can be difficult to know where the line is with cultural appropriation as “all cultures are mongrel” (Nittle, 2015) and cultures do influence eachother in many different ways but it is important for those at a point of privilege to research and discuss the meaning of a garment, dance, ritual before exploiting and appropriating it or deciding wether it is appropriate to do so.

 

 

What specific signifiers of genre are associated with superhero films such as ‘The Avengers’ and how do they work on audiences?

‘Genre’ is comprised of patterns & behaviours, styles, form and structure in order to express a specific mood or atmosphere relating to it. For example, in a fantasy film, one would expect a variety of colour, magical creatures and a fairytale- like structure.

Genres each have their own signs and signifiers which help us to identify them and understand what a film/ text is likely to be about. An example of this is superhero films. I have identified many of the signs in the semiotic language of a superhero film which are as follows:

  • Secret Identity – characters in these films usually hide their identity and go by an alternative name, choosing to hide their faces with masks.
  • ‘super suit’ – this ties into the secret identity but often provides or enhances powers. they often include patriotic colours from the american flag – i.e ‘captain america’ , ‘iron man’, ‘thor’
  • There is always a villain, much like in fairytales who will wear dark colours indicating that they are the enemy or threat. They tend to have stereotypical features of a villain such as an evil laugh, dark clothes and a british accent.
  • The heroes have powers, traits and skills that enable them to save the town/ city/ planet etc. For example, thor is a god which gives him strength and powers but he also wields a magical accessory (mjolnir) to aid him in defeating evil.
  • science experiments feature heavily in superhero films. often an experiment gone wrong is what leads to the hero obtaining their powers or a villain obtaining theirs.
  • Origin story- we often see a tragic backstory in this genre. for example: batman is orphaned, daredevil is deformed and deadpool is mutated.
  • Girl needs saving/damsel in distress – often the main objective of a superhero film is to save the girl, ending the film in a romance.
  • there is always a hero and it tends to be black and white in regards to good and evil.
  • often there is a big fight scene around half way through or at the end, the viewer can always expect the hero and villain to clash in a fight to the death.
  • sidekick/team- the hero/ protagonist often has a sidekick or team who play a vital role in saving the town/city/world/girl. for example: batman and robin/ the avengers/ justice league.

 

Super heroes first became populat during the 1930s and 40s. “Fictional super-heroes with extraordinary powers, derived from comic books, newspaper comic-strips, pulp magazines and other sources, have since become the subjects of numerous fantasy and sci-fi films (both live-action and animated, serialized and feature-length, on TV and on the big screen) with action-oriented heroes and heroines, almost too many to mention fully. They have inspired generations of readers, TV audiences, and movie-goers, and have dealt with a variety of deep personal, political and social issues.” (AMC, 2016)

In a superhero film we can expect the following conventions:

  • despite the fantasy element, much of the action takes place in the real world.
  • the narrative is linear but we can expect flash backs and, in some cases, time travel.
  • CGI is often used to create imaginary worlds, super suits, mutants and to fabricate super powers.
  • there is always a hero and a villain and in most cases this is black and white with no grey areas. (an example of a film where there are grey areas with this would be captain america: the winter soldier as we know Bucky is capable of good despite him being brainwashed as the winter soldier.)
  • The hero is always working toward a goal. i.e saving the town/ city/ world/girl but expects no reward.
  • There is rarely death at the hands of the hero.

But what are the sub genres of superhero movies? Are they a sub genre in themselves? “Some would say that they are a sub-genre of Science fiction, or a sub-genre of fantasy, or a sub-genre of action adventure. Believe it or not, some would place it as some off-beat sub-genre of comedy.”(comicbookmovie, 2016) in reality it can be classed as all of these in some respects as with the avengers the audience can expect a level of action within fight scenes, an adventure or quest (especialy with characters such as thor and loki being based upon norse mythology, mythology often following a fairytale-like structure.) this keeps the audience engaged as there is a sense of reality and fantasy as is within a fairytale which people find engaging and interesting. “‘I think humans everywhere have always been fascinated by beings and objects with special powers, whether wizards or jedi, magic mirrors or time machines,'” (Tehrani, 2016) There are also levels of science fiction what with characters such as captain america being given medication to make him stronger. (again leaning toward a fantasy element to engage the audience.) The comedy element is a large feature in many superhero films such as deadpool but its still prominent in ‘The Avengers’ mainly with the character Loki, known as the god of mischief (although it is a genre that is threaded through the film via different characters.) The use of various sub genres within this genre caters to many different people meaning that regardless of taste or who the person is they are likely to enjoy some feature of the film meaning that most people will leave the cinema or finish watching the film with their tastes satisfied.

A main signifier of a superhero film is ‘super suits’. each hero can be identified by the colour and style of their costume. for example in The Avengers Captain america wears patriotic colours and has stars on his costume to indicate patriotism and iron man’s costume is high tech to indicate his wealth. also costumes can be an indicator of good and evil, heroes tend to wear bright, patriotic colours and tend to have weapons which look less sinister whereas villains wear darker colours and have more features associated with ‘evil’ characters such as more pointed shapes, capes, black hair and pale skin. this helps the audience identity who is good and evil in a black and white sense and also helps them distinguish between heroes and identify their key characters and powers.

(((bibliography, images, extract from film)))

Consider the key symbols and representations that construct ‘London’, and consider how this image corresponds to your experience of living in the city.

My mother always told me that London was not a safe place, to always keep an eye on my bag and to avoid eye contact with strangers. To me, London was a place of opportunity and, Much like Dick Whittington I “often heard stories about a far away place called London where everybody was rich and the streets were paved with gold.”( Smith and Lethbridge, [no date]) Alas, as a student I immediately found that this was not the case what with high rent prices in London and government cuts that were actually affecting me.

The first things that sprung to mind when someone said ‘London’ before I moved here were Big Ben (according to Visit London.com “The Houses of Parliament and Elizabeth Tower, commonly called Big Ben, are among London’s most iconic landmarks and must-see London attractions.” Visit London, 2016)  The London Eye, Museums and Galleries. Having visited these before I arrived as a ‘tourist’ I felt that these were representative of London life. I expected to see them frequently and be able to visit whenever I wanted. The reality of it is that these spaces, though an important symbol of London life are not as easily accessible as I had first thought. Due to high rental prices in central London I must live in south London, making travel to such places a chore. Also, visiting these places at a weekend can be difficult due to the sheer number of tourists who will undoubtedly be there.”Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed London had 16.8 million visitors in 2013″ (BBC, 2014) meaning central London is busy and daunting rather than being the cultural haven I had imagined.

A Key thing I noticed about what I had been fed by media about south London was crime rates. The total crimes in southwark in a year as of March 2016 was 31,335, 251 of which were sexual assaults and 9115 were robberies. (Met Police, 2016) This is a terrifying reality of life in London and upon moving here I was scared to leave my flat in fear of adding to these statistics. This really affected my opinion of the city and my experience of it. Yes, there are crimes committed and within the first month or so of moving here there was “a fight and stabbing, right in the middle of Rye Lane.” (De Peyer, 2015) but ultimately it is as safe as anywhere and I have only been met by kindness in London, as long as there is kindness and respect I don’t expect to become a target. In contrast to this, in my hometown, a small cosy town with family pubs and play areas, synonymous with family atmosphere and mutual respect as everybody knows everybody else I was threatened with a broken glass bottle. It goes to show that the symbols of a place aren’t necessarily representative of the reality.

Another Expectation I had, having heard about all the markets and boutiques was that London was a place like no other, and it is in some respects. I expected unique shops and quaint markets in every borough. This is not the case, there are multiple Lyca mobile shops in my area and as Reddit user ‘lolworth’ quite bluntly puts it “It’s true, a shop decked in Lyca mobile or Lebara signage is normally a surefire sign you’re in a shit area.” (2015) not only is my area nameless and faceless, regardless of how diverse it is described as being but central London is not much better. Gentrification is to blame, the city is full of chain stores, chain restaurants and most music venues belong to O2. Those places that are original or quirky feel elitist, you’re only welcome if you fit in with a certain type of crowd. I was taken aback by this due to my expectations because my view of London had been shaped by films where people never sat in a costa coffee and were always in boutique clothes shops or paintings and illustrations that depict bustling markets and unheard of shops as in Lucinda Rogers’ ‘Borough Market’. However, I was not shocked because I had seen Oxford Street and Westfield before and I knew the extent of gentrification in the rest of the country. I knew that every corner I turned there would be another Starbucks or two and that is my gauge for how far into the centre I have travelled. I now associate Starbucks and Costa Coffee with the centre of London which is a sign of the city and its changing face. I definitely expected to be visiting small independent shops but in reality, central London is full of chain stores and although I thought I could escape them, I cannot.

Bibliography:

Smith, N. & Lethbridge, A. [no date] Dick Whittington and His Cat. [online] Available at: world stories.org.uk [accessed on: 28 Apr 2016]

VisitLondon. (2016) London’s Big Ben [online] Available at: Visitlondon.com/things-to-do/sightseeing/london-attraction/big-ben [accessed on :28 Apr 2016]

BBC. (2014) Record- Breaking number of tourists in London in 2013 [online] Available at: Bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-27323755 [accessed on: 28 Apr 2016]

Metropolitan Police. (2016) Latest Crime Figures For London  [online] Available at: Met.police.uk/crimefigures/datatable.php?borough=md&period=year [accessed on: 28 Apr 2016]

De Peyer, R. (2015) Peckham Stabbing: Man knifed in the neck in attack on busy south london high street.  [online] Available at: Standard.co.uk/news/crime/peckham-stabbing-man-knifed-in-the-neck-in-attack-on-busy-south-london-high-street-a3095376.html [accessed on: 28 Apr 2016]

Lolworth. (2015) I hate Lycamobile [online] available at : reddit.com/r/london/comments/2hmzgo/i_hate_lycamobile/ [accessed on 28 Apr 2016]

Rogers, L. (2001) Borough Market. [online] Available at: Lucindarogers.co.uk [accessed on 28 Apr 2016] lucinda-rogers-Borough-Market

‘What Subjects does the Imaginary World of ‘Arcadia Bay’ in ‘Life is Strange’ explore and how?

In this week’s CTS session we discussed Imaginary worlds and how they can convince those interacting with them. There are three main principles of creating imaginary worlds, these are: Reality, Fantasy and Evidence. Firstly, an imaginary world should have an element of reality so that the person experiencing it can relate to some aspects of it, meaning they are more likely to be convinced by it, thus allowing them to become immersed in the world. The fantasy element then allows the player/viewer escapism, it is a world that they will have never experienced as this element is imagined and is something new to them. They are encouraged to immerse themselves and explore in order to learn new things and to enjoy a world that is not accessible to them in reality. The evidence gives historical, geographical, physical and atmospheric context, thus adding to the amount the person is convinced by the world, affecting their engagement.

‘Life is Strange’ (Dontnod Entertainment, 2015) is “a five part episodic game that sets out to revolutionise story based choice and consequence games by allowing the player to rewind time and affect the past, present and future.” (Square Enix Ltd. 2015) It contains all three elements for creating the imaginary world of ‘Arcadia Bay’. The reality element is that Arcadia Bay is an imaginary town but is situated in America, and contains many signifiers of american culture such as diners, the high school culture complete with stereotypical cliques and the sense of freedom and excitement that has become synonymous with life in America. Not only this but the characters are highly complex and the choices the player makes are all highly relatable meaning that the player is able to empathise with the characters thus becoming immersed in the world. The fantasy element is Max’s power of time travel, “Time travel has long held a fascination for many of us. The idea that we could use science to see the past and the future has been with us since HG Wells penned The Time Machine at the end of the 19th Century.” (Bowdler, N. 2007) so unsurprisingly, players are fascinated with the idea that they can rewind time and ‘re do’ mistakes unlike in real life when they might wish they had that possibility, this fantasy world allows them to escape reality and to live out a dream. There is a large evidence part within Life is Strange as the characters are all relatable humans and unlike in fairytales, they are all complex- there is not good and evil it is a spectrum therefore it is believable also the physical town looks as though it could fit right in to coastal america with its sandy beaches and long open roads.

True to the reality element, Life is Strange tackles subjects of real world problems that young adults and teenagers may face. These include but are not limited to: Bereavement, Depression, Revenge Porn, Drugs, Insecurities and Abuse. This makes the game relatable to the young adult target audience and enables the player to be convinced by the game and immersed in the world. As these themes are explored through different strands of time, there is still a fantasy element distancing the player from the distressing reality of the issues, meaning that it doesn’t hit them as hard, encouraging them to learn from it.

The world also explores the idea of climate change. This is firstly subtly alluded to by strange happenings in the town. The player might firstly assume that it’s because the imaginary world is strange and abnormal. they are firstly presented with snow, then animals begin to die and this happens on an increasing scale. However, the climate change is caused by max’s time travel and therefore the player is causing it but not in the same way it is caused in reality. This causes the player to feel bad for their actions in game and encourages them to reconsider their actions outside the game.

It also explores the theme of the inevitability of death. A usually dark topic is sensitively explored through the animals which die as they are always dead no matter which strain of time they are in and are spread around arcadia bay as a constant reminder. Also, the fact that chloe (who happens to be a symbol for death due to the skulls on her clothes and tattoos and the blue winged creatures which are symbols of death) dies in three different ways in different time frames shows that death is inevitable and touches upon how people can deal with it. Also the fact that (depending on the players choices) max must allow chloe to die as her death is inevitable shows that everybody must die eventually. And as this is explored through the fantasy element of time travel and through the strange world of arcadia bay it does not seem as dark and upsetting.

All of these elements combined allow the player to become fully immersed and learn from their choices in-game, perhaps affecting their decisions in reality. The game tackles difficult subjects but in a way in which the player can relate but not get too caught up in due to the fantasy element. This makes the game effective in being an immersive experience rather than just a game.

 

Bibliography:

Square Enix Ltd. (2016) “Life is Strange – Complete Season (episodes 1-5)” [online.] Square Enix. Available at: https://store.eu.square-enix.com/emea_uk/games/pc-windows-download/Life-Is-Strange-Complete-Season-1-5.php# [accessed on: Feb 29, 2016]

Bowdler, N. (2007) “The Dream of Time Travel”. [online.] BBC News. Available at:news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/6933059.stm

Dontnod Entertainment (2015) Life Is Strange, Computer Program. Dontnod Entertainment, Paris.

What are the key differences between cinematic and comic book storytelling?

In the cts session today we discussed visual sequence in moving image and in still sequences. ultimately, audiovisual moving image is time based and linear (although some films, i.e pulp fiction, break from that rule) we are expected to be taken through the story in chronological order and over a set amount of time. similarly to moving image, comic books are also linear, however, they are concerned with space and are multi-directional and we are presented with all of the scenes simultaneously meaning that we may read and understand them in our own time. Although cinematic storytelling and comic book storytelling can be similar in the conventions that they use, they are very different in that they use the conventions in different ways. For example, in cinematic storytelling we often use a soundtrack or voice overs to convey meaning however, in a comic book this is not possible. in order to show sound or narration, image must be used instead. text boxes are used over image to show a voice over or narration and often there are graphics used to express sounds such as shouting.

In order to show the differences between cinematic and comic book storytelling I shall compare the same scene from a comic book and its film. A great example of this is in ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. The World’ although the film stayed pretty accurate to the intentions of the comic book, there are still some key differences. hWSLT7D

For example, in this scene we are able to hear the music and narration from the main character, it is easier to understand the atmosphere. whereas in the comic book we are expected to imagine it, the only information we are given is the words ‘Afterwards’ in the top left of the panel to explain to us that this is what happened after the previous event. However, the comic panel allows us to imagine what the atmosphere is like and allows the reader to mould the story for themselves rather than having it handed to them as in the film.

 

An example which shows far more differences is ‘The Walking Dead’ Below is the first scene of the comic and the first episode of the television series. The scene i am looking at beings at 0:00 and ends at 1:07.3bcbd47e0d893cf4f6c0def5af2c31de._SX640_QL80_TTD_

The first difference we can notice is that the film opens with an establishing shot to set the scene, we are introduced to the scenario with a police chase and can hear the Diegetic sounds of sirens and cars screeching and extra diegetic sound which is some rocky background music which is also not shown in the comic world. We are then introduced to the protagonist as within the comic but instead of hearing him speak, we see a speech bubble and instead of the diegetic sound we hear on screen, the words ‘Boom’ and ‘Spak’ are shown to represent the diegetic sound to the reader. Then when Rick shoots we hear the noises of gun shots and the camera pans across all the police officers showing their guns firing, in the comic however we see the words ‘ping’ and ‘boom’ and flames coming from the guns to represent gunfire to the reader. We associate these signs with gunshots so it is easy to know what has happened. In this episode, when rick is shot there is a big closeup on rick as he loses consciousness and then a blackout to represent his unconsciousness and to show he is shot but in the comic we just see the hole blown through him. The comic can be more graphic as they aren’t using real people so the gunshot wound is shown whereas in the film it is not. Also we hear the shouting of the police officers saying ‘Rick!’ in the film but to show shouting in the comic, The edges of the word balloon are jagged to show distress. The film is very similar to the comic and is able to mimic it using diegetic and extra diegetic sound, the comic uses visual signs and signifiers to show emotion and diegetic sound.

 

 

Bibliography:

 

 Moore, T.(2009)The Walking Dead.Available at: http://www.comixology.com/The-Walking-Dead-1/digital-comic/60 [online.] Accessed: 27 Feb. 2016.

Unknown. (2014) I think it should be appreciated how well “Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World” was adapted from the graphic novel. Available at:Imgur.com/gallery/nMRiY. [online] Accessed on: 27 feb. 2016.

Walking Dead, The. (2010) The Walking Dead- Season 1, Episode 1:Days gone by. Available at youtube.com/watch?v=Ec3UgWvvZoI [online] Accessed 27. Feb. 2016

What contemporary uses of fairytales are there? How have they been adapted from traditional tales?

Vladimir Propp (1895-1970) first published ‘The Morphology of the Folktale’ in 1928. It was a study and analysis of folktales made ‘according to the functions of its dramatis personae’ (Dramatis Personae meaning characters).Propp’s ‘Dramatis Personae’ are listed in terms of their spheres of action and are described in categories as follows:

1. The villain
2. The donor
3. The helper
4. The princess and her father
5. The dispatcher
6. The hero
7. The false hero

This doesn’t necessarily mean that there are always 7/8 characters as one character can often fulfil more than one sphere of action. Through Propp’s lists of 7 spheres of action and 31 functions the plot of any Russian folktale can be generated.

For example: “A wizard gives the hero a magical potion that will disguise him and allow him to slip past the guards.” ( The narratologist, 2014) The wizard is the donor as he gives the potion (the helper) to the hero in order to slip past the guards. however, it can be argued that he is also the dispatcher, encouraging the hero to go on the quest by giving him the means to do so.

Fairytales also contain conventional stock figures with clear and obvious motives. There are no grey areas, characters are either ‘good’ or bad’ and are often not seen as conscious. Despite this we can still relate to them regardless of them not reflecting our complex psychological reality. As we are told these stories as children it is likely that at that age we don’t require complexity for characters to be relatable and therefore can empathise with them at a young age and continue to empathise with them into adulthood as we take those stories with us.

“fairy tales don’t come whole and unaltered from the minds of individual writers, after all; uniqueness and originality are of no interest to them.” (Pullman, 2012) They are an oral tradition, changed in the way in which they are told. The teller ultimately moulds the story. This can be seen in the game ‘Fable II’ which is based upon traditional folktales. The player is essentially the storyteller and changes the course of the story through their actions (as if they are telling the story in their own way) there is not one way to play the game just as there is not one way to tell a fairytale.

True to Propp’s theories, the characters in ‘Fable II’ fit into his 7 spheres of action as with traditional folktales. So we have the protagonist (Sparrow) and he/she is the hero who embarks upon a quest to get revenge upon Lord Lucien (the Villain) who killed her/his sister. As with traditional fairytales Lucien is only ‘bad’, there are no grey areas aside from the first time he is seen when he attempts to reason with himself, he always makes ‘bad’ choices. In contrast, Sparrow can be anywhere on the spectrum between pure and evil based upon the player’s decisions which makes the character more relatable but does not act like a typical character in a fairytale. We then have the princess and her father. The princess is seen to be Sparrow’s sister as the aim of the game is to return her to life and her father is either Lord Lucien (as by killing him, sparrow can have her sister returned) or Theresa, the blind enchantress who gives Sparrow the power to have her sister returned. Theresa is both the dispatcher and the donor as she is the one who sends Sparrow on her quest and also gives her the training to use her powers to achieve her goal.The dog is then the helper as the dog aids sparrow in her quest (but also becomes the princess in the end as Sparrow much choose a reward for her bravery and has the option to choose to revive her dog).

Another game which has been adapted from a more specific fairytale is ‘Alice: Madness returns’ adapted from alice’s adventures in wonderland by Lewis Carrol, the game centres around the Hero, alice and the helper, the cheshire cat. Where the characters in Carroll’s novel are more black and white, American Mcgee’s game makes it unclear as to who is evil and who is not, giving all the characters sinister appearances but some having ‘good’ or ‘bad’ ideas. It is still black and white as with many fairytales and the original story but it is left initially unclear in order to highlight alice’s growing insanity, a key point that the game picks out from the original novel, making it more relatable to a modern audience. Ultimately, this is the idea of modern fairytale adaptations: to make the retelling of the story relevant to the modern reader/audience in order to ensure the story lives on.

 

References:

Narratoloist, The. (2014) Literary Theory: “Morphology of the Folktale” (1928) by Vladimir Propp  available at: thenarratologist.comliterary-theory/literary-theory-morphology-of-the-folktale-1928-by-vladimir-propp/ [Accessed on: 22/2/16]

Pullman, P. (2012) The challenge of retelling Grimms’ fairy tales. Available at: Theguardian.com/books/2012/sep/21/grimms-fairy-tales-philip-pullman. [Accessed on 22.2.16]

Saunders, D.G. (2009) Game Narrative Review: Fable II. Available at: Gamecareerguide.com/features/783/game_narrative_review_fable_.php?page=1 [Accessed on: 22.2.16]

 

Semiotics: What meanings are attached to visual codes of Gender and sexuality?

Semiotics: Communication by means of signs.

C.S Pierce said “Signs take the form of words, images, sounds, odours, flavours, acts or objects, but such things have no intrinsic meaning and become signs only when we invest them with meaning.” (Chandler, 1994-2016)) Ultimately, society and cultural norms are what define the meaning of signs. This means that they don’t necessarily reflect the truth but rather a stereotype or archetype defined by mankind (or ‘Myth’). Understanding signs is dependent on a shared meaning and understanding.

Roland Barthes developed semiotics and the concept of the sign further in order to use it as a tool for analysis of the way in which cultural values are communicated, produced and circulated. He studied how human beings use language, clothes, gestures, hair styles, and colour to convey to one another their tastes, emotions, ideal self image and the values of their society. This ideology is useful for people to express themselves and identify their social groups, class, culture/subculture  and even gender identity. But it can also be problematic in that through signs, assumptions are made based upon cultural norms and gender stereotypes, we can’t always take a sign as a denotation, sometimes it only has cultural connotations (and therefore can be described as a ‘myth’ as it’s meaning is based upon ideology rather than fact). Every image or sign upholds and therefore produces the normative values they express.

“the two sex, two gender distinction is a socially created one, not natural.” (Jhally, 2009) We use various visual signs and signals to determine people’s genders upon first encounters. Just a few of these are: Hair length, colour/ style of clothing, build, gait and height. An example of this is the ‘pink for a girl, blue for a boy’ argument. In the late 20th and early 21st century baby boys were always dressed in blue (a ‘masculine’ colour) and baby girls dressed in pink (a ‘feminine’ colour) This would help people to assume the sex of the child when they are too young for it to be obvious. But this distinction has been known to be taken into later life. Especially before the 2010s, a man would be assumed to be feminine or homosexual if he wore pink (and therefore assumed to be weaker as femininity is seen as a weakness) as pink was a ‘girl’s colour’ therefore having connotations with not being masculine or not being a man altogether. However, this has not always been the case (proving that signs and signals are learned).”Ladies’ Home Journal article in June 1918 said, “The generally accepted rule is pink for the boys, and blue for the girls. The reason is that pink, being a more decided and stronger color, is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl.”” (Haartman, 2011) Although the connotations are switched from what we associate them with today, they are still the same. Women and girls must use signs and signals to present themselves as delicate and dainty whilst men and boys are expected to use them to present themselves as strong and capable so as to be ‘normal’ and people conform to these visual codes of gender because we are taught from a young age that is wrong to stray from the norm.

“Our ability to recognise someone as either male or female is absolutely fundamental to our ability to interact with them and [that] there is nothing natural about that recognition. It’s dependent on certain signals being communicated that allow us to position people in categories (male/female) that make sense to us.” (Jhally, 2009) We use visual codes of gender in order to decide how we should approach and interact with them. an example of this is the way in which people walk. A woman’s gait is expected to be elegant, perhaps even slightly nervous, narrow and unconfident whereas a man’s is expected to be strong, confident and wide. When we look at men who have a more ‘stereotypically feminine’ gait often there is an assumption that they are homosexual as society sees the man as emasculated and feminine and therefore assumes that this equates to homosexuality as we are taught through popular culture and homosexual stereotypes that these are the signs of a gay man (for example, programmes like little Britain where homosexual characters are caricatured and given heightened feminine features) . It becomes problematic to make assumptions about gender and sexuality based upon these signs as, ultimately gender is a spectrum and is unique to the individual: everybody expresses themselves differently. It is now 2016 and people are beginning to understand the fluidity and spectrum of gender much more. We can’t simply rely on signs to help us to make assumptions upon someone’s gender or sexuality as how they identify should not be defined by a normative society.

In advertising “Female hands have a different relationship to reality than male ones. Female hands are shown not as assertive or controlling of their environment but as letting the environment control them. So, for example, when women are shown holding something it often looks as though it is just resting there, not being held in a strong manner.”(Jhally, 2009) This speaks volumes about the visual codes of gender being imposed upon us. The woman’s touch in advertising is superficial and weak therefore the word ‘woman’ has connotations with fragility, women are expected to be delicate and fragile and a delicate and fragile person will be categorised as feminine or female regardless of their gender identity. “In contrast, the masculine touch is powerful and assertive, presenting a different relationship to the world. instead of tentative, the male touch is utilitarian, controlling and bold.” (Jhally, 2009) Men are shown as strong, bold, powerful. A man’s touch is manipulative and powerful in advertisement. Therefore the normative values we hold on men are that they should be muscular, confident and able to easily manipulate an environment or situation. If someone can’t fit in to this category due to the signs they are showing then they will be immediately categorised as feminine or female (especially as many people believe in gender binary). If a woman is seen as strong or as having a utilitarian, bold touch she is immediately categorised as ‘butch’ and therefore society sees her as homosexual (because, again, popular culture says that ‘unfeminine’ women cannot be heterosexual and therefore we use signals of strength to pigeon hole them into the category that we have been taught to put them in regardless of their true sexuality).

Ultimately there are visual codes of gender that we are expected to display in order to conform and express our society’s normative values however, in modern day this is outdated and it can be problematic to assume somebody’s gender or sexual identity based on their outward appearance. We have all been taught from a young age to not judge a book by it’s cover yet almost every day we are making assumptions based on visual codes of gender, signs and signals in order to pigeon-hole people.

 

Bibliography

Chandler, D (2016) ‘Semiotics for beginners’ Available at http://www.visual-memory.co.uk/daniel/Documents/S4B/sem02.html [Accessed on: 8th February 2016]

Haartman, M. (2011) ‘The history of Pink for girls blue for boys.’  Available at: Jezebel.com/5790638/the-history-of-pink-for-girls-blue-for-boys. [Accessed on: 8th February 2016]

Jhally, S. (2009) The codes of Gender . Available at: topdocumentaryfilms.com/codes-gender [accessed on: 8th February 2016]