Have you ever seen a picture, been completely outraged and felt as though you just have to show another person? You then show that person and then…
They don’t think it’s that bad? They think it’s funny? They think it’s brilliant?
The problem is, their interpretation is completely different to yours. Sure, you’ll feel stupid for about 5 seconds but don’t worry – This happens regarding every single piece of media text.
I’ll prove it –
Photo found here
Here is an advertising campaign for the Italian fashion brand Sisley, bearing the tagline, “Fashion Junkie.” It caused quiet a stir when it appeared in high fashion magazines around China in 2007. The signifiers (what’s there on the screen or page), being two models snorting something that at first glance appears to be cocaine, but on closer inspection is actually a top. The denotation (literal meaning) being – the girls are as addicted to fashion as others may be to drugs, and Sisley believe they can fuel fashion addicts.
One of many interpretations taken from this advert is the inadvertently promotion of the use of cocaine. The connotations being that through this campaign, Sisley acknowledged the rampant use of cocaine by people who have enough money to afford their clothes, associating it with fashion. Somehow cocaine is suddenly being signified with style. It is then further justifying the harmful use of dangerous substances by essentially categorising them next to a girl’s passion for fashion. This then raises the issue of Sisley’s disregard to the consequences of fashion becoming an addiction. (You should watch “Confessions of a Shopaholic,” for a better perspective). Another issue is the portrayal of the models. Both girls are shown with heavy makeup, party dresses on with a dark background indicating their position being in a club, signifying the brand’s view the models as no more than stereotypical, living to party on the weekends and suffering from a unhealthy drug addiction to keep their weight down. These unfair generalisations are not doing society any favours.
I believe what truly makes this advertisement so dangerous is the vast reach and impact of today’s media. There are thousands of possible responses, some in total contrast to how someone else perceived the message. In this case, ads like these are incredibly dangerous for young girls who idolise the fashion industry. They’ll see this advertisement and believe that drugs are an acceptable thing and if they do them they’ll be seen as cool and fashionable.
These are only a few different interpretations of this image, out of thousands of different ones. Each individual interprets the image and it’s visual signs differently because of the cultural (denotation) background, along with the socio-cultural and personal (connotation) background. Because of this, media texts will almost always have controversial aspects to it, resulting in different impacts to each person.
Until next time,
Is it the media’s fault, society’s fault, or my fault?
Since the introduction of media in the 18th century, the world has always regarded any new forms of media in a negative light. People would view it with suspicion, worried that the medium audience would be easily influenced and emotionally vulnerable. These anxieties evolved around the argument that people mimic what they see. The context of what we see effects what we think about and how we react to it. This argument is still relevant today. Each year brings newer, more technologically advanced forms of media. This growth walks hand hand with the increase of anxieties of media and its manipulation.
But how much of this negativity is caused by the media itself, and how much of it is actually us as individuals? How much of the blame should be put onto society?
Every single time a girl goes onto Instagram and sees countless skinny girls parading around in a bikini, who is to blame for her feelings of self loathing and doubt?
- Instagram for showing her?
- Society because they’ve ingrained into us what the ‘perfect body type’ is?
- Or herself for not realising the trap she’s fallen into?
There are countless arguments that support each point.
This is my argument:
Instagram isn’t doing anything – it’s just giving people the option to post pictures and gives others the option to see those pictures. There’s a choice either way of what content is going in and what is going out. I believe the real problem of media anxieties is society itself. Society uses media as a way to portray its (mostly grossly inaccurate) opinions and views. Because of this, we need to start questioning the social context, rather than the media. For example, what are the social pressures working alongside the media? In this case, it’s body image.
Audience members need to make their own decisions about how the media effects them personally and act accordingly. Perhaps the girl who doubts herself when going on Instagram should not allow herself to go onto the site anymore. If a boy finds that he has more violent thoughts after playing a particular video game, he should then limit the time he spends on it. If a mother finds that her child is spending too much time online and not enough time outside, then they need to limit time on technology and encourage time outside. (Easier said than done though right?)
Photo found here
In this day and age, media consumption is unavoidable. Media anxiety is avoidable. We just need to realise what the real problem is.
Until next time,
If anyone ever actually somehow stumbles upon my blog and decides to investigate, I’d like to say – Congrats, you’re probably the first and last person to ever be on here. I’ve never owned a diary or a journal so I’ve never had to write anything personal. So this is a new experience for me – the hidden meaning behind that being; this is my tenth draft and I swear each time it just gets worse so I’m leaving it at this.
My name is Georgie and I was born in Australia. I’m nineteen years old.
Onto the bigger stuff –
Why am I here?
I honestly didn’t think the question was a hard one until I actually sat down and started to write. I usually answer any form of question with,
“I’m not sure.”
“I don’t mind.”
Any question that needs a longer response to someone I’m unfamiliar with usually results in mumbled nonsense and a face so red it should be on youtube. So have patience while I stumble through this.
In short, I’m here because I’m hoping that applying to study at the University of Wollongong will be one of my better decisions. I’ve survived the week so I suppose you could say I’m now optimistic. Even though I’ve started and all that wonderful jazz, I still don’t know an awful lot – Like what i’m going to major in or even if this is the bachelor for me. The only thing I’m sure of (get ready to cringe) is that it’s my goal in life to be happy. Incredibly cliche but it’s about to get worse. In contrast, one of my biggest fears is allowing myself to fall into a tedious routine and grow old, reaching a stage where it’s just too late to break out of. Once I realised this, I realised how important my choice of employment is going to be in regards to how happy I will be as I grow.
During year 12, I realised that a bachelor of Communications and Media Studies could definitely put me onto this path. I’m incredibly interested in the more emotional, creative and evolving aspect of living and I believe that BCM definitely applies. During my travels overseas last year, my decision was definitely cemented when I realised the freedom and opportunity I could get out of this bachelor. And after writing all of this, I can tell you that I’m actually incredibly excited to be here.
Until next time,