A Media-Centered Perspective: Mean Girls

Mean Girls is a film released in theatres on April 30th, 2004 by Paramount Pictures. It was written by Tina Fey from Saturday Night Live. This comedy is about 15-year-old Cady Heron moving from the lands of Africa to Illinois, United States, where she attends high school alongside various personalities combining to form the student body. Through the progression of the film, Cady’s first friends Damian and Janis, notice the ‘Plastics’ are showing interest in Cady and soon to their surprise, embrace her into their clique. Cady’s easily influenced personality combined with the ‘Plastics’ manipulative characteristics cause a lot of conflict to occur both at school and in their private lives. The key ironic feature of this film is the fact that Cady Heron, a good girl,  puts on an act of being a bad girl in order to join the ‘Plastics’ but ultimately they turn her into a ‘Plastic’ in the process. Therefore, through the evaluation of the media-centered perspective, media logic, the social learning theory, the parasocial relationship theory and the cultivation theory, it is evident that the film Mean Girls does not depict what “not to do”, but reinforces acting in a negative manner and illustrating it as being normal.

 

The effect media logic has on society has clearly increased a great deal, as demonstrated by the film Mean Girls. David Altheide and Robert Snow (1979) believe that viewers take medium and social uses for granted, which results in us getting blinded to its effects on our perception of normal, good, desirable, etc. Media logic has always been present; however, with the increase in technology and accessibility to mass media, it has increased in effectiveness on individuals. An instance in which Mean Girls or any other form of medium has changed the way we live is the fact that we have become immune to multitasking by engaging in some form of mass media alongside undertaking an activity. Whether it is watching a movie while making dinner or listening to music while vacuuming the house, we are constantly exposed by various mediums, reinforcing the effects of Mean Girls through a media logic perspective.

Furthermore, the commodifications incorporated into the film definitely play a large role in the social trends during the time period of the film’s release date. With reference to this film, there may not have been as many direct advertisements evident but the film did start trends amongst teenagers. It gave rise to the velour track suits, increased the number of girls applying red colour dye to their hair- inspired by Lindsay Lohan and unfortunately in some extreme cases, made the use of the ‘Burn Book’ seem acceptable. The ‘Burn Book’ in the film is a book owned by the ‘Plastics’ and contains harsh comments and accusations towards individuals in the student body. Although this book is depicted in a comical manner, it seems as though the viewers take what was meant to be a good lesson as another way to talk negatively about the people they are not fond of. Therefore, media logic definitely is a key feature which helps shape our ideas about what we perceive as being normal, good, desirable, and more.

The social learning theory, first discovered by Albert Bandura in 1977, discusses how we learn to behave and believe based on observations, imitations, and modeling. He argues that most human behaviours are learned from observing others rather than from an individual’s own actions. After observing the film Mean Girls, I agree with Bandura’s theory. Almost all of  the students attending the same school as the ‘Plastics’ have the strong desire to either be friends with or even be acknowledged by them. Cady, as well as her female peers, imitated the ‘Plastics’ to be noticed by them. For instance, at one point Cady and her two different friends, Damian and Janis, try to embarrass Regina by cutting two holes into her top to expose her bra while she was changing for gym class. Although Cady, Damian, and Janice assumed that it would upset Regina, her carefree attitude resulted to her walking out of the change room in confidence and basically creating a new trend. Social learning, as demonstrated by all the school girls imitating Regina occurs once the four conditions are met. Firstly, everyone simply responded by paying even more attention to her. Secondly, they remembered the actions or the characteristics of Regina they have previously noted her doing. Next, they think of whether they’re able to replicate her behaviour, keeping in mind their attempt at popularity and being a member of the desirable clique. Finally, they learn to make decisions about their behaviours based on the consequences they are aware of through observing others’ enactments.  Thus, the social learning theory reinforces the notion that I, as well as other teenage girls, learn from the actions of others, as demonstrated through the film Mean Girls.

 

The parasocial relationship theory was initially introduced by Donald Horton and Richard Wohl in 1956. It describes a one-sided relationship where one party is very informed about everything regarding the other party and does not work vice-versa. For instance, after watching the film Mean Girls, I can say that I, as well as other teenage girls, have compared and contrasted characters such as Cady and Regina to individuals we know of in our actual lives. The feeling of closeness and the ability to talk about the actor or actress as if we know them personally is referred to as a bond of intimacy. Moreover, realism is defined by how believable the characters portray themselves to be and how well the audience can relate to them. Personally speaking, I feel that once I find a sense of connection with a piece of mass media, in this case a movie character, the entire experience becomes that much more engaging and entertaining. Furthermore, the notion of the parasocial relationship theory is evident within the movie itself as well. This is illustrated by the student body members knowing a lot of information about the popular ‘Plastics’ while they were oblivious to any other individuals around them.

The depiction of what the everyday real world is like through continuous reinforcement of a certain belief or behaviour through television is known as the cultivation theory. This theory was suggested by George Gerbner and Larry Gross in 1976 and continues to support the idea that television reinforces normal beliefs and behaviours rather than counteracting towards them. I feel that the depictions of desirable and undesirable roles in this movie are portrayed in a sense that they affect the targeted viewers, which are teenage girls in a very poor manner. The ‘Plastics’ contain their popularity throughout the movie regardless of whether they experience good or unfortunate events, reinforcing that they are desirable characters. On the other hand, Damian, Cady’s homosexual friend does in fact become accepted into the student body as a gay individual but remains as a loser or outcast and never enters the popular clique. This instance is also evident if referring to any other types of individuals within the student body other than the ‘Plastics’ themselves and this reinforces the notion that being different will never get you into the popular crowd. With that being said, the effects Mean Girls and other mass media has on audiences depends on how much the individual is exposed to the medium; an increase in exposure to television will influence an individual greater than those who watch a limited amount of television.  Moreover, the characters playing the various roles also follow physical stereotypes reinforcing individuals to look a certain way. To be more specific, Regina George, leader of the ‘Plastics’ was tall, had blond hair, a large chest, and always dressed the best; portrayed the image of a Barbie. This proves the notion that through cultivation, we as society members are exposed to only one form of normal. As illustrated in Mean Girls, the ‘Plastics’ were the desirable, normal characters while the rest were continuously considered outsiders and not cool.

In conclusion, Mean Girls is a popular movie that is relatable to by all teenage girls. Although it may have tried to bring teenagers to understand that everyone is the same and popularity is not as important as it seems, I believe that it reinforced this notion. Media logic is much more prominent in shaping our morals and effecting our actions than in previous years, but unfortunately, I as well as several other individuals are blind to its drastic impact and give into its control.

References

Hartnoll, Paul. “Mean Girls.” The Internet Movie Database (IMDb). IMDb, 30 Apr. 2004. Web. 15 Mar.      2012. <http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0377092/

Media Centered Analysis on “Twilight”

Twilight is a movie based on a best-seller series written by Stephanie Meyer. The film is about a young girl named Bella Swan who moves to the town of Forks, Washington to live with her father. Bella is new at the local high school and does not know many people. At this school, she meets Edward, who is a vampire that she eventually falls in love with. Edward’s secret makes it difficult for them to be together because of the disproval by their families and other vampires that are out to hunt Bella. Through the analysis of media logic and social learning theory it can be seen that the film reflects many different media-centered perspectives.

Media logic focuses on the degree to which viewers tend to take the medium and its social uses for granted and fails to recognize how it influences us to behave or perceive normality. An example of this shown in the film is Edward and his family. Edward comes from a very wealthy family as compared to everyone else at their local high school. Edward and his siblings drive to school in fancy and expensive cars. When people watch the film, they may find this to be desirable and consider it to be normal. In fact, this is out of the ordinary in normal situations. The media brainwashes us to believe that this is normal since we are exposed to it in many movies, twilight being one of them.

Furthermore, the theme of commodification also ties in with media logic. Commodification has to do with advertisements blending with programming. In the film, many examples of this are seen. For example, looking back on media logic, the cars that they drive around are typically nice sports cars that are out of the ordinary. The commodification in these films subconsciously forces people to buy into fancy brands. Commodification can also force trends. The look that some of the characters have in the movie can now be seen as desirable by teens. Bella’s simple, girl next-door look may appeal to several viewers. Viewers will also tend to believe that products, apparel and even certain hairstyles are normal and desirable based on what they see worn in the movie.

Many viewers are also drawn to the fictional characters of Edward and Bella. In fact, most people desire their exceptional romance in the film. Similarly, this also leads back to media logic because the viewers of the film fail to recognize that they are influenced to desire to have the same bond as Edward and Bella in the film. This proves the notion that we are exposed to see this romance as the “normal” relationship that everyone should have. We fail to recognize that this relationship is in fact abnormal since the movie is a fantasy and Edward is a super-natural being.Image

Albert Bandura’s social learning theory focuses on how we learn to believe and behave based on observation, imitation and modeling. Many young males have seen or have heard of the film as well. These males might find Edward to be a symbolic model which is a person demonstrating a behavior through a medium such as TV, film, computer games etc. In this film, Edward is ultimately the perfect boyfriend. Men may find him as a symbolic model and want to imitate the same behavior that he demonstrates towards Bella to their significant others as well. A symbolic model can occur when a person is motivated to imitate the behavior observed. Women tend to be attracted to men with gentlemen characteristics such as those that are portrayed through the character Edward. When men realize this, they may also want to inhibit those characteristics and would be motivated to do so if they see that ultimately most women desire that. Personally, I know many males that have this approach in mind. Therefore, not only has the film influenced its viewers; it has also influenced people who have exposed to the film and its characteristics in the media.

In conclusion, it can be demonstrated that Twilight has many characteristics of media logic and social learning theory, especially from a media oriented perspective. It has impacted our desires and behaviors in several different ways and also altered our understanding to how influential a fantasy film can be.

A Media-Centred Analysis on “Everybody Loves Raymond”

The artefact selected for analysis from a Media-Centred Perspective is the Emmy-award winning sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond” that originally ran on CBS from 1996 to 2005. The show often revolved around an Italian-American father, Raymond Barone, living with his wife, Debra, and his children consisting of identical twins and a daughter. However, he also lives across the street from his parents, Frank and Marie, and his brother, Robert, with much of the show’s comedy being the parents and Robert constantly reminding Raymond and Debra of their company, much to the frustration of the two. One of the reasons the show was successful was due to its ability to realistically portray dysfunctional families with humor and its attempts to relate with its viewers, especially when referring to the amusing banter between the characters that set frequently within both Raymond’s and his parents’ houses. From this point, the Media-Centred Perspective can be utilized to examine the ways in which the show communicates its positive messages about family and marriage to its audience (of around 25-54 years of age, which is the typical age bracket for parents).

From left to right: Robert, Frank, Debra, Raymond and Marie

The first of the four media effects perspectives we will study about the show is media logic, and it is slightly present throughout. Even though the show started more than fifteen years ago, the interior of Raymond’s house, more notably the living room with the furniture and the kitchen with its dining table and cooking appliances, still resemble that of a modern home today. In contrast, the house of Frank and Marie looks dated with old-fashioned wallpaper, antique ornaments and paintings nailed to the walls, a hanging corded phone and a wooden TV set that Frank regularly watches, reflecting Raymond’s parents’ old age and their relatively simple way of living, especially since Frank had retired. Viewers would typically not pay too close of their attention to Raymond’s house since the house looks like the sort of place a modern family today would live inside, thus the show portrays Raymond’s house as being normal, and most objects in his house as normal too. Conversely, we would see Raymond’s parents’ house as outdated for reasons described above, which contribute to media logic. In addition, the fact that Raymond works as a sports columnist for the real-life newspaper franchise Newsday supports commodification. Some could argue that the show is also engaging in product placement, but it should be noted that Raymond and his family live in Long Island, NY, and Newsday headquarters is situated in Melville which is a hamlet in Long Island, maintaining the sitcom’s realism.

The next media effect perspective has to do with the social learning theory and how we would behave based on observation of the show. Throughout the sitcom’s run, there have been many stories viewers have observed that typically involve someone or some people doing something that is considered immoral or inappropriate, and the consequences that eventually arise as a result of their wrongdoing. From these episodes, viewers can watch the outcomes that unfold as a result of acts that people would not want to do in real life to educate viewers about the cause and effect of possible karma such as lying, arguing and, in the case of the men on the show, laziness. This is especially important since this is a family sitcom that depicts what a standard, middle-class family could go through anytime in their lives, and due to the majority of viewers being within the age bracket of even the characters of the show, it is vital that such trials and tribulations of the Barone family be present to aspire viewers to model behaviors that are positive in nature and to avoid behaviors that condone negative actions. All the characters in the show are considered symbolic models since each has their own strengths and weaknesses. In the case of the main character, Raymond, he is quite shy and neurotic (even of Debra), which are stereotypically seen as feminine traits. From this angle, we can see that Debra is therefore more dominant and influential within the entire Barone family than Raymond, even if she is another housewife living with a man that likes sports and sex. Thus, this perpetuates an inflected oppositional reading from a feminine perspective because even though the show seems to support patriarchy citing Raymond being the worker and Debra being the caretaker, the gender traits seem to have switched, usually for comic effect. In this case, women would particularly want to model Debra since she seems to be the most sensible person on the show compared to the other members of the family. On the other hand, Frank is extremely masculine exhibiting outspokenness, stubbornness and resentment of his wife, Marie, although there are some moments when he does turn over a new leaf. His countless stories of his days as a war veteran during the Korean War and how he is ashamed that his son, Raymond, is not “manly” enough, shows that he maintains the “tough guy” persona, promoting masculine hegemony. Frank is definitely not a man viewers would want to model. So, from two different houses across the road, there are two different feministic perspectives within the show.

The five main characters in one of many family arguments.

Parasocial relationships definitely exist in Everybody Loves Raymond. The bond of intimacy is also extremely prevalent in the show since the five main characters are the only main characters that we really cared about throughout the nine years of its run. Since the show models a typical American family, many viewers (who are also usually members of a typical nuclear family) can strongly relate with many of the onscreen characters and their apparent human flaws, which gets the audience to know the characters as if they were in their own family, in spite of the characters in Everybody Loves Raymond having no idea who is actually viewing their story. Realism, as described before, is also ubiquitous throughout the show since it showcases typical family problems – albeit a bit exaggerated – and their subsequent resolutions. Furthermore, each character has their own personality with strengths and weaknesses, which enhances the bond of intimacy and the show’s somewhat realistic portrayal of an American family. Because most of the episodes take place within the family’s homes, and we often get to observe what all the characters go through everyday, we get to know them personally like members of our own family, thus contributing to privacy.

Finally, the cultivation theory of Everybody Loves Raymond reinforces the fact that, stereotypically, the male characters of the family are lazy and childish (Raymond), aggressive (Frank) and emotionally confused (Robert), whereas the female characters are rational and hardworking (Debra and Marie). The progressive development of characters overtime may occasionally contradict the initial cultivation theory, but most of the show’s time on the air reflected the typical family behavior in the real world and that the two genders within the TV show have drastically different mindsets and perceptions about family, which can also be seen true outside the TV show itself.

Despite the frequent arguing between characters that pervades mostly every episode in the series, Everybody Loves Raymond serves a primary, positive purpose: to teach real-life families, especially parents, how to make their own lives better and how to increase the bonding with other family members – and, of course, reduce possible hostilities. In other words, the arguments between family members convey the “argument” of the TV show.

Citations:

MEDIA-CENTRED PERSPECTIVE

MEDIA CENTERED PERSPECTIVE: REBECCA

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A naive young lady marries a well-off widower—Maxim de Winter. The lonely widower is still distraught and dejected by the accidental death of his first wife, Rebecca. It appears that Rebecca still rules at Manderley even after her death. Danvers, the faithful housekeeper, makes frequent references to Rebecca in order to keep her memories alive.

I have chosen the movie ‘Rebecca’ (1940) to conduct my media-centred analysis. Media logic focuses on the degree to which viewers tend to take the medium and its social uses for granted and thus, fail to realize how they influence us to believe and behave. (Sellnow, pg162). The movie focuses on typical gender roles Maxim is portrayed as a strong-willed husband who is the authority figure. Mrs. de Winter is portrayed as a weak, timid lady who desperately tries to win her husband’s love. Mrs. de Winter lacks self-assurance and attempts to follow Rebecca’s Mannerism. Rebecca on the other hand, is an exception to the rule. She is smart, independent and domineering. But the dark and sinister side of her personality tarnish her image. We begin to hate her because her behaviour is far from the accepted and desirable norms of behaviour. Maxim’s character supports masculine hegemony and we approve him this way.

‘Commodification’ has to do with advertisement blending with programming (Sellnow, pg 163). The film exhibits commodification on two occasions. At one place Maxim is shown leafing through ‘Time’ magazine and invites Mrs de Winter to read an article about English cricket. On another occasion Mrs de Winter is seen glancing through ‘Beauty’ magazine for smart women in order to have a better understanding about how to carry her.

 Amplification and reduction has to do with what is shown and not shown on a TV program/movie. (Sellnow, pg 163). For instance, Rebecca is not shown in the movie but she permeates the entire film in spite of her absence. Mrs de Winter remains on the screen but fails to register her presence. From a feminist perspective it is note-worthy that the young lady who plays the wife is nameless throughout the film implying that she has no identity of her own. The message of masculine hegemony is amplified in the character of Maxim. Mrs de Winter is reduced to a mere object to be gazed at and her only purpose in life is to please her husband.

 Social learning theory focuses on how we learn to believe and behave based on observation, imitation and modeling. (Sellnow, pg 164). In fact, we do not learn so much from our own actions as by observing others who model certain behaviour and the consequences of their actions. For example, we will not aspire to follow the model of Rebecca because her actions lead to her tragic end.

Parasocial relationship theory describes one sided relationship where one party know a great deal about the other party, but the other party does not. (Sellnow, pg 165). Parasocial relationship is established when there is a bond of intimacy between the celebrity or character and the viewers. When Rebecca was released in 1940, Rebecca, Maxim, Mrs. de Winter and Danvers became household names as if they were real people, not actors portrayed. Realism contributes on establishing a bond of intimacy with the characters. Mrs de winter is clumsy and nervous she breaks a statue and hides its pieces. She tries to win Maxim’s attention in every possible way. We can relate to her on account of realism attached to her character.

Cultivation theory suggests that repeated exposure to a certain message shape our view about the world. The artefact consistently delivers the message that beauty, brain and breeding is all that matters in a women. Rebecca is shown as a personification of perfection.  Mrs. de Winter’s futile attempts to be like Rebecca strengthen the cultivation theory.

The film teaches us about the discrepancy about appearance and reality. Apparently Rebecca is appealing and seductive but in reality, she is deceitful and not loyal. According to the feminist perspective Rebecca challenged masculine hegemony and that is why she is condemned. The movie thus supports patriarchy and masculine hegemony.

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                     

                                                                                                               

Video

Visual Pleasure Theory: “Diamond on a Landmine” music video

In a medium that is known to feature overtly-sexualized women as objects most often, Billy Talent’s music video for their single “Diamond on a Landmine” is a distinct departure from tradition, revolving around shots of the band performing in the centre of a darkened room for an anonymous, masked audience. The song itself is the story of a man trying to win back a former lover while battling his conflicting feelings regarding her, hinting at a possibly abusive and unhealthy relationship.

If there is any one entity being made the object in the video it is, interestingly, the band. They stand out visually from the background – a black landscape with floating white masks offering the only contrast – not only by being the only well-lit aspect of the video, but also by breaking the prevalent colour scheme in the predominantly red clothes that they are wearing. Furthermore, their relation to the on-screen audience is suggestive of a one-sided relationship in which the band exists as a source of entertainment that is only useful in the context of the audience – the band members’ individual faces are very rarely shown in the foreground without multiple masks in the background, serving as a reminder that even the individual is just a constituent part of the whole, whose collective purpose is to be seen by the larger audience.

The aspect of voyeurism is the most subtle of the three constructs in the video; the nature of musical performance is that it is a semi-public undertaking which is, by that characteristic alone, distanced from being the sort of activity that voyeurism would commonly be related to. However, certain images from the video suggest that, in context, there is a voyeuristic element involved. Most importantly, the small, barren room in the which the band is performing is distinctly different than the large-stage setting that would be expected of such a performance for a large audience. The further facts that the band is facing inwards, toward each other, rather than forward, as would be more traditional, and that they do not acknowledge the masked figures crowding around them suggests that the performance is not meant to be a public one. It is entirely possible, likely, even, that it is a private rehearsal that is being intruded upon rather than a public display. Viewed in this manner, the audience, seen pressing in on all sides as well as reaching from the backdrop toward the band, carries with it a strong suggestion of a voyeurism.

Ironically, the concept of narcissism in the video, while again created by the interaction between the band and audience, directly counters the notions created by the voyeuristic aspect. While the latter suggests negativity where the extreme involvement of the audience is concerned, the former can be seen as selling a message of the positive nature of the same thing. The band, inspiring as it does such devotion in its followers, is the centre of attention and the object of obsession; one interpretation is that the band is in the desirable position of being successful and adored on a large scale and, in the case of the latter, to the extreme.

This video is not the most obvious choice as an artifact to analyze through the Visual Pleasure theory; there is no overt sexualization of a member of either sex apparent in it, and the message that it is ultimately putting forth is not one of sexual attraction. It is uncommon in that it is a meditation on the hegemonically-enforced celebrity culture rather than on sexuality and desire and is more concerned with public image, of a sort, than personal image. Its value is, arguably, in its use as a vehicle for Visual Pleasure analysis that is more concerned with the non-sexual connotations of the imagery it provides.

The Metonymical Beast

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The Metonymical Beast

            Many theories relating to a visual rhetorical perspective refer to popular culture’s excessive use of scantily-clad women as objects to either associate the subject with a sexual image or simply to acquire the viewer’s attention. No matter the intention, the goal is usually to purposefully catalyze a subject through an association, founded or otherwise, with the objectified woman and her sexual appeal. Fairytales typically act as other archetypal demonstrations of idolization of the fair and beautiful maiden. However, in the case of Beauty and the Beast and other similar stories, including the Frog Prince and possibly even Shrek, there exists an alternate subject of rhetorical significance.

             Under analysis, the character Belle follows the basic visual principles of what culture has determined a beautiful woman to be and, therefore, can be applied to a visual pleasure perspective. Although, her partner, the Beast, uses perhaps even more prominent cues from visual pleasure theory which make him the true subject of interest in this artefact. From the Semantic Triangle, the symbol of the beast is known to carry many associations. Pertaining to the story, it is mostly his denotation of brutish behaviour and ugly appearance which weighs most heavily on the viewer. What is not immediately distinguished as a referent, is his representation of fault or outward expression of self-image.

            Due to a media-inspired sense of scopophelia and need for sexual arousal, the viewer often believes he must maintain a similar image or be seen as unattractive or sexually unappealing in comparison. The meaning of the Beast’s discernable ‘ugliness’ then comes to exhibit his inability to fulfill Belle’s natural scopophelic desire for an attractive man and doubles as a point of relation to the viewer as he believes that without a select set of physical characteristics he will be unable to fulfill the desires of his chosen partner.

            Known to visual pleasure theory as a narcissistic adoration of the archetypal male form, as cultivated through continual exposure to related pop culture material, the Beast becomes a wild representation of anything accepted as undesirable. Although, as the story continues, the Beast transforms into the exact subject which he and the viewer fetishized alike. In particular, it is only through this transformation into the fetishized male form that the Beast attains the love of Belle and the two are married promptly afterwards. And in watching, the viewer fulfills his voyeuristic inclination by his private and voluntary observation.

            In conclusion, the classic fairytale of Beauty and the Beast contains a visually appealing display that, while it does not immediately reveal itself to follow the trend set by popular culture, does, in fact, support the ideology that places fetishized attributes above the overall character of the subject through the Beast’s metonymical representation of the viewer’s flawed self-image.

Works Cited

Sellnow, Deanna D. “A Visual Perspective .” The Rhetorical Power of Popular Culture. N.p.: Sage, 2010. N. pag.    Print.

Visual Pleasure Theory: Givenchy Perfume

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Visual Pleasure Theory: Givenchy Perfume

            Givenchy is a prominent company offering what they claim as the best in perfume and cologne. In their advertisements, the one shown above in particular, the creators use concepts of the visual pleasure theory of rhetoric to inspire consumers into purchasing their product. Givenchy’s addition to their ANGE OU DÉMON franchise is shown within this advertisement. The perfume is said to “convey the secrets of femininity: Mysterious, luminous and seductive” and to have a “tantalizing” scent. The advertisement itself depicts a young woman turned away from the camera, this emphasises her back and feminine curves, which is further accentuated by the reveling dress the model wears. The model’s face is also distorted by decorative designs around her eyes, acting similar to a masquerade mask. This makes it so that the viewer cannot identify on a personal level with the model, effectively making her a fetish.

            Within this advertisement the feminine characteristics of a slim curvaceous body is designed to be seen as desirable. The viewer sees the model in fetishism and acts as a voyeur, viewing this sexually desired woman and craving her. The dress worn by the model acts as the voyeurism itself, a dress such as this which does not adequately cover the woman is against societal expectations and therefore scandalous. This adds to the theme of scopophelia used to insure the viewer will desire her. This is accomplished either through male gaze and seeing her as sexually desirable or in conjunction with the mirror stage, a section of psychoanalytic theory. This mirror stage is also based on the viewer seeing the woman as desirable, but not necessarily as a partner or romantic figure for themselves. This technique is used to adapt the viewer’s self-image, which is done by influencing the viewer to consciously or unconsciously compare themselves to the model.  If the viewer does not believe they are similar enough this most usually affects the self-image negatively. In this advertisement the creators hope to influence the self -image negatively, giving the use of their perfume as an alternative to being undesirable. By wearing the perfume the viewer can add to the similarities between themselves and the sought after model. If however, the viewer considers themselves under the same classification as the model the goal of the company is to reaffirm the sexual desire of being beautiful and wearing their perfume. This is done by using the effects of narcissism, if the viewer’s think highly of themselves they will believe they deserve to use the perfume, since the model being similar to them is using it as well. These different perspectives of viewers can have hazardous implications.

            The targeted audience of this advertisement is young women, relatively close to the age of the model. The implications on this group may include a negative self-image, or an inflammation in one’s personal vanity as discussed previously. There are other possible implications for the target group such as believing that the use of this perfume could change your appearance in any way to make you more desirable. If this is believed, then disappointment will soon follow if the product does not suit your needs. Other groups beside that of the intended audience also may suffer implication from seeing this advertisement. Men, from a young adult age and up, may experience the concept of male gaze, seeing the model as the ideal woman. When woman in general cannot live up to the standards of these men, thinking all women should be as flawless as the model, conflict may quickly ensue. The last general grouping of a possible audience would be that of children. Young girls may feel they can never grow up to be like the model and may try to act older then they truly are. Young boys could acquire a perceived taste to women like the model, who would be much older and unacceptable for them to court. All these implications could befall on any audience however; the implications are not strictly limited to the groups suggested.

            Media and popular culture will always be looking for new tactics to use in advertisements and other mediated sources. The visual pleasure theory is an effective method to use when trying to sell a product using sexual appeal. Within the Givenchy perfume advertisement the use of parts of psychoanalytic theory, fetishism, voyeurism, and narcissism are evident to sell the product. This is effective but also may cause negative implications.

 

Works cited

Sellnow, Deanna D. “A Visual Perspective .” The Rhetorical Power of Popular Culture. N.p.: Sage, 2010. N. pag. Print.

GIVENCHY Ange ou Démon Le Secret Eau De Parfum Spray.” Web. 28 Feb. 2012. <http://www.thebay.com/eng/beauty/fragrance/forher-Ange_ou_D_mon_Le_Secret_Eau_De_Parfum_Spray_-thebay/155687?gclid=CJbtt6-D0a4CFVGFQAodKXeUBw