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Images depicting the physical and mental coercion of women by men: A discussion of symbolic composition and information contined within pictorial elemets

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Introduction

For thousands of years the women of this world have been considered the weaker sex. They have been seen as not capable of doing many things. The media often uses the theme of men overpowering women in their story lines and programmes using poor helpless women victims. The film and theatre make use of this well. The "lady" has always been the helpless maiden in storylines of old films and is still portrayed today in many with little more subtlety. A woman for example is easily used as a person captured at gunpoint where as a man would be the one pointing the gun at her head. For my images I have chosen still images of women in a position of terror at the hands of a man. Each of my three images shows the woman being controlled against her will by a man in either a purely physical way or mentally. The first picture that I have chosen is of a military solider, due to the race of the woman; I think most probably in the Korean or cold war. The solider is crouched upon the floor pointing a gun at a woman's head. The best visual code for this picture in my opinion is expression. Gesture and clothing also play a small part but expression shows the feeling of the people in the picture therefore leading you deeper into the true meaning of it. ...read more.

Middle

Her legs however show her determination to beat him as they are positioned ready to get back up again, as if she is ready to run from him. To freedom. The clothes show only a little yet very crucial part of the explanation of the picture. It helps us to understand the situation of these people. The clothes in this picture are torn and dirty showing that they have most probably been outside for some considerable amount of time. Her clothes also seem more torn and destroyed than his he may have attacked her already. When you look at this picture your eyes are first drawn to the arm he has wrapped around her, then to his body and lastly to the gun. There is where your eyes will last look at the picture. My second picture is of a man lifting a woman up by her neck. In this picture there seem to be only two visual codes that are relevant for analysis. The first being expression and the second being gesture, all other visual codes do not seem to affect the picture's meaning. You are first drawn to the woman in the picture due to the fact that she has the larger majority of her body in view. Her expression is mixture of many things including showing some of the unseen actions. She is very scared and frightened because of the fact that she is choking, however she seems to be pleading with an unseen person to do an action that will change the situation. ...read more.

Conclusion

Her eyes are looking down to the floor perhaps in an attempt not to have to look at the man. Her mouth is slightly open but this is not part of the expression this is just normal. Most of the feeling has come from her eyes. The rest of her body is unseen to the viewer of the picture so that we cannot see her gesture. He on the other hand is has a very different expression, he is desperate to kiss her. He has his eyes closed waiting for what is about to happen and his mouth partly open with no teeth showing ready to kiss her. His right arm is wrapped about her body and her other pulling her head closer to his. The clothes in this picture are of an old-fashioned nature maybe Victorian. She is wearing her undergarments, which also shows a kind of vulnerability, whereas he wears normal clothes to show that he is the power over her. In conclusion in the media the woman is often shown as weaker by many different types of visual codes. The clothing can say a lot where she is wearing clothes that protect her less or maybe the camera is used at different angles to look down on her and up on him. However it is done, in many films today the helpless woman is terrorised at the hands of different men and it will most probably stay this way for years to come. ...read more.

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