Semiotic Analysis Of A Dove Advert

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Semiotic Analysis of a Dove Advert Focusing on Whether or Not the Advert Re-enforces Hegemonic Views of Race, Gender and Class
Essay by Martyn McGrath

The study of semiotics dissects an image by looking at various aspects of the image itself, such as lighting, camera angles, and what these things mean to the ideology behind the image. Semiotics is defined as the “The science of signs, or the study of signs and sign systems.” (O’Shaugnessy and Stadler, 2012:131). This essay will be a semiotic analysis on the Dove advert above. This advertisement reinforces hegemonic representations of race and gender, but does not re-enforce hegemonic views on class; this essay uses semiotic analysis to support this claim by observing how the advert uses race,
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This relates very closely to the definition of hegemony. When an image is first examined there can be many different interpretations to the image. The presence of text on an image usually indicates some sort of ‘explanation’ for the image, it is essentially what gives boundaries to the ways in which one can interpret it. The anchorage on this advert plays a role in defining how the image is interpreted. The effect of the three women standing one after the other going from ‘before’ to ‘after’ leads us to the conclusion that the first woman is the ‘before’ product of whatever the advertisement is selling, the middle woman is the ‘in-between’ and the last woman is the ‘final’ product. From the first viewing of this one already has an idea, thanks to the signs of ‘before’ and ‘after’ that this is an advert that is indicating a process. The words ‘before’ and ‘after’ are indicative of a series of at least two of the same thing, one from before and one from after the process being advertised. It is logical to say that whatever product is being sold is supposed to turn an individual’s skin from a darker shade to a lighter shade. This idea is re-enforced by the text on the advert that begins with: “Visibly more beautiful skin.” This part of the advert is interpreted to mean that the dove product is the cause of the women going from dark skin to light skin. Connotation is…show more content…
This advert re-enforces hegemonic views of gender and the female image. The body shape of the women changes. The first woman is a woman who doesn’t fit the hegemonic, cultural stereotype of beauty. She is slightly heavier-set than the next two women. Dove states that their product will make women look more beautiful, the before product is less ‘skinny’ than the later products. It appears as if Dove is insinuating that if a woman wants to be visibly more beautiful she needs to fit into the cultural stereotype of beauty (i.e. skinny, blonde and white). All these women are young, indicating that youth is a requirement for beauty. The connotation of this is that Dove re-enforces hegemonic views of beauty. In the following paragraph, the subject of the advert as it relates to hegemonic views of class will be

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