social relations

Contexual Information

Name: Battle of the sexes
Type: Conceptual Image
Image URL: http://lifestylescience.eu/reacting-to-hide-the-reaction/

Semiotics Analysis

Building Blocks
The main elements of the image is the adult male in the orange shirt, the adult female in the green shirt and together their arm wrestle demeanour.

Signs
There are multiple signs which can be interpreted with the image, one sign is the male, he represents an icon sign. The second sign is the female, who represents another icon sign. The last sign is the arm wrestle demeanour between the two which is an icon.

Sr = Signifier
Sd = Signified

The male person (Sr) represents the male sex (Sd), the female person (Sr) represents the female sex (Sd) and the arm wrestle demeanour (Sr) represents opposition or battle (Sd).

Interpretation through Dyer’s List

The image is interpreted through Dyer’s List (Rose 2001).

As previously stated the representation of bodies is a male and female, both are Caucasian, both are at similar body as size as in one is not significantly taller or obese than the other and also both are wearing apparel which can be consider to be of a similar social class. In terms of the representations of manner, both people have a very similar pose, facial expression and the same expression of eye contact. In terms of the representation of activity, both people have similar positional communication and are both touching by gripping each other’s hands. Although it could be seen as the female being more open and the male as closed off from the viewers perspective. It appears as though in terms of bodily and manner representation both sexes whilst different in various cultural ideologies are actually represented as equals and on par with each on every level, yet however in terms of activity, even though they are equal again they are ultimately battling each other.

Social Semiotics Analysis

Representational
Narrative

The image could be perceived as contemporary version of the battle of the sexes, both sexes are playing an equal active role and a bidirectional interaction. In the current western cultural perspective, men and women have equal power social structures within all aspects of life (or at least more closer to equal than ever before) whereas previously our society was completely orientated by dominating masculine paradigms. Yet in this image both sexes are still opposing each other. The deeper meaning of the image could then be perceived as the male trying to regain his old male driven society and simultaneously perhaps the female is riding the momentum of the feminist movement and looking to create an age of a female driven society. It could even be perceived as two sexes who have been battling each other for so long that even though they are now more equal they still battle each other because that’s what has been handed down through the generations.

social relations-vectors

 

 

 

 

 

In terms of vectors, the arms of both people create clear vectors lines which draw attention. A pattern that appears are multiple triangular dynamics mainly related to their eye gazes and arm positioning. An interesting find is that the formations seem to form the letter W, which could be a representation for Women, but it may just be coincidence due to the nature of their arm wrestling demeanor.

Interactive Meaning
In terms of interactivity, the viewer is in a position where they can be objective about the image, as there is a bit of a distance in terms of the relationship between the viewer and the two people. Also the distance from these two people is at a medium distance shot, it is just close enough to create the feeling that the viewer is watching a battle that is taking place and they can choose sides.

Compositional Meaning

Information value
The placements of each person within the image in context to their actions have an equal left to right, right to left relationship. However view from western culturally based perspective left to right is read, so it could be seen that the even though in many ways both sexes are equal, since the man is perceived first he could be seen as having the upper hand.


 

low-modality

 

Contexual Information

Art Name: Greed
Artist: mou-s
Type: Digital Painting
Image URL: http://www.deviantart.com/art/Greed-308476837

Semiotics Analysis

Building Blocks
The main elements of the image is the adult male, the adult female in and the teapot and cup.

Signs
There are multiple signs which can be interpreted with the image, one sign is the male, he represents an icon. The second sign is the female, she represents an icon. Lastly the teapot and cup are both icons.

Sr = Signifier
Sd = Signified

The male person (Sr) represents an authority figure (Sd), the female person (Sr) represents a servant (Sd) and the teapot and cup (Sr) represents a service (Sd).

Interpretation through Dyer’s List
In terms of the representation of both persons bodies, both are adults, opposite sexes and both appear to be of Asian ethnicity. In terms of the representation of their manner and activity, the guys expression is as if he is contemplating about something outside of his immediate environment, his body language is calm and collected, and he makes no eye contact with the lady. The lady’s manner and activity is of loyal service to the guy, her body language is in the calm act of pouring a drink however she also makes no eye contact. The lack of eye contact may be associated to cultural and/or hierarchical customs.
Social Semiotics Analysis

Representational
Narrative

The lady is serving the guy so she is playing an offering role, it is a transactive relationship to the guy, her goal is to pour his drink. In terms of power structure, even though the lady is depicted at a higher point, it is clear that the guy is the more dominant power/authority figure. Also he is receiving a service and so he is playing a passive role. The expression of the guy is as if he is disconnected from the service that the lady provides. This scene can be perceived as reinforcing the old stereotype of a female being obedient and a caretaker to men, or other stereotypes such as males being in the position of power.

low-modality-vector

 

 

 

 

 

In terms of vectors, there a something like a boundary like that begins from the guys gaze, it runs down his arm and continues with the smoke of the drink. Furthermore the vector line continuing with the smoke reinforces the idea of guy being elsewhere in his mind by the very imaginary quality of the smoke. This vector actually separates the guy from the lady and the only thing that connects the two is the liquid of the drink which passes over from the lady’s side onto the guys side, which puts into perspective that she is only there for the drink and nothing else.

Interactive Meaning
In terms of interactivity, the viewer is in a position where they can be objective about the image, as neither character has a direct relationship with the viewer. However the distance from the two is at a medium shot and still creates a sense of being a part of the scene. It creates the sense that the viewer is right in front of the guy and since the viewers eye height is close to the servants head height its as if the viewer is in his office serving the guy as well.

Compositional Meaning

Information value
The placements of each person within the image in context to their actions have an equal left to right, right to left relationship. However view from western culturally based perspective left to right is read, so it could be seen that the even though in many ways both sexes are equal, since the man is perceived first he could be seen as having the upper hand.

Image Differences
There is a clear difference between the two images, while both have male and female sexes, one establishes an equal power between the two and the other depicts a male being the dominant in power over the female. Interestingly enough, the male dominating female image actually depicts a more harmonious interaction between the two characters where as the image with the equal power between both genders has a disharmonious relationship between the two people.

Relation to Practice
Through analysing images with major themes of gender roles and the power relationships between the two sexes; I now have a deeper understanding of how I can identify similar cases in other images and also apply and depict such themes within future illustrations and film projects.

References
Rose, G. 2001, Visual methodologies: an introduction to the interpretation of visual materials, Sage, Thousand Oaks, Calif; London.

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