Gender Roles: Feminist perspective within Semiotics

Gender Roles: Feminist perspective within Semiotics

Gender roles are arguably one of the most ingrained and until recently unaddressed myths within Western culture. Gender roles are the myth of “what it is to be a man or woman”, any person who doesn’t conform to these societal expectations is (very simply put) outcast. It is for these reasons gender roles can be detrimental to self-consciousness and self-security.
Western consumerism seems to have built an ideal image of what is to be female and what it is to be male through an oversaturation of images in media over the past century or so. The roots of our contemporary image of the sexes however could be traced back to a very early time in human history.
The two images above, both being exhibitioned on the same shop window for a current clothing campaign, blatantly surmise what the media dictates what it is to be man or woman. The contrast between the two is almost humorous when one applies a feminist semiotical perspective.
We can see the man is cool calm and collected. He is looking downward surveying his surroundings from a position of power (also supported by his outward and downward moving posture, as if he is stepping down from a podium or mountain). This is contrasted to the image of the woman; she is touching her hands together in an unsure submissive gesture. Her posture is unbalanced and the twist in her body is reminiscent of a sexual or seductive strut. Her eyes and lips are pursed enforcing her seductive posture.


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