Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Blog Response for 2/6 (now 2/8)

I think semiotics are incredibly useful in analyzing most things that can be visually represented. It is ironic that semiotics—that is, the describer and described—are said to be ambiguous because I thought the analysis of the system was somewhat ambiguous itself. I see how it is helpful to describe “snow” and “rain” and how it is not the letters taken individually or together that code the meaning of snow but rather its audible, verbal, and cultural relativity. Even the author acknowledges the “abstract” nature of semiotic analysis (van Zoonen 76). Nevertheless, what I found quite compelling was how semiotic analysis can lend to the understanding of ideologies hiding other ideologies. For example, when discussing Williamson, van Zoonen writes “ ‘Questions of class power frequently hide behind the omnipresent and indisputable gender difference” (van Zoonen 84). I’ve never thought about this occurrence but it seems like a formidable argument. When an advertisement comes out that is blatantly sexist for example, it might be easy to ignore the other problematic features it may contain such as class power, the marginalization of children, etc. I am in Empowering Girls right now and it is incredible to learn about girls and even children as a group who are constantly subjected to patriarchal and other oppressive systems. It is hard to notice these things when there are blatant misrepresentations of women or other groups that usually take the political forefront. 

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