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Select a print media advertisement that features a man, or a man and a woman. Carry out a semiotic analysis of its content and discuss the ways in which the advert constructs masculinity.

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Introduction

Select a print media advertisement that features a man, or a man and a woman. Carry out a semiotic analysis of its content and discuss the ways in which the advert constructs masculinity. As part of your answer, briefly introduce your research method and make sure you use the relevant terminology. Refer to relevant secondary reading where necessary. (Please submit the advert together with the rest of your portfolio.) To properly understand the advert I am using I will be using the method of semiotic analysis. Semiotics was developed by the Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure. It is defined as being the 'study of signs' (Saussure 1974. p32) a science which studies the role of signs as part of social life. An approach which helps us understands the relationship between social conventions and signs. A sign is defined as "anything which produces meaning" (Thwaites, 1994. p7). The physical form of the sign is the signifier, and the mental concept that triggers is the signifier (Fiske, 1987. ...read more.

Middle

The pictured man, in the advert is a sports star named David Beckham. This intertextual reference helps sell the Gillette product. People want to buy into the idea of being a sports star. "Advertiser's use of sports figures to enhance the "manliness" of their products" (Dines 1985) which enforces the idea of men and there dominance. By picturing the man holding the product it actively constructs a relationship between the two. Associating sport, virility and strength through David Beckham on to the product. The aggressive posture of the man, coupled with the way he is holding the Gillette razor, brings about further connotations. The stance with his fist clenched to his chest, evokes images of stance against evil. During the 1936 Olympics Jesse Owens used this pose to highlight his stand against Nazism. Vikings used it as a greeting to show strength. This is a real symbol for power. The advert comes from a football magazine aimed solely at men. The way it is constructed is so to appeal to its target audience, men. ...read more.

Conclusion

p 37). This idea means that the producers in the world, who construct ads, shape peoples ideologies. As the owners of the majority of products are male, they reinforce their own beliefs on the myth of the dominance of masculinity. It has been considered by critics such as Wernick, that because of the power of the feminist movement for equality, men are no longer seen as dominant, but equal with women. Wernick identifies that there is an increasing trend to depict male and female not as opposites, but as fluid categories that occupy equivalent places in society (Wernick: 1987, 280-293). However the advert I am analyzing reinforces the male dominance. This is the key ideology within the ad. In conclusion the advert constructs masculinity by using a physically strong man to sell the Gillette product. His aggressive stance, the low angle shot are all signs that show us that advertisers are still trying to appeal to men who want to be masculine and physically dominant, the ideology that men want to buy into and still believe in. This is helping to sustain ideologies, and continue constructing the idea of the masculine authority, and dominance. ...read more.

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