Barthes says that , ‘The fashion magazine ‘speaks the significations of garments, just as one speaks as language’ (Wasserman,1981,68) Moreover this implies that verbal language works above the object of clothing which is signified, to which it applies a connotative meaning of the garment signified. Therefore there is already a connotative meaning present in the interpretation which determines the manipulation of the garment and makes people believe they should buy the garment.
In our modern society today I would agree that that this notation of bourgeois manipulation on garments is still present today. For example a typical magazine ‘Now’ you can see a range of ideological messages bourgeois are giving about fashion for example, ‘Rate it or Hate it’ ‘What’s in and what’s out’ ( Now,2007,16,29) In addition the bourgeois are manipulating us into believing what is fashionable and what’s not. Kellner agrees with this notion saying that individuals consume fashion to be, ‘socially accepted to fit in and be popular'(Kellner,1995,336).
This therefore supports Barthes notion that there is a connotative meaning behind the signified, as we instantly accept the notion of fashion been associated with been popular. However one would argue that this does assume that we are all passive into believing the messages. Moreover it is evident that ‘advertising produced an increase in sales in less than half the cases studies, advertising had little or not affect on product sales’ (journal of Advertising 1992). In addition to Barthes this criticises his analysis of the fashion system, as advertising is not influential.
Throughout his career Barthes was interested in photography, where he drew on the work of Hjemselv and Saussure. Barthes says the ‘connotative message can be analytically distinguished from denotation'(Chandler, 2002, 138). In relation to the connotative message in a photograph personal and ideological messages are transmitted creating an individual meaning of the photo, whereas the denotative meaning is referred to as having common sense values that we all associate with.
I would argue that a personal photograph cannot be purely denotative as not all individuals will associate the same universal values of the photograph, as different people from different cultures will view the photograph differently. Therefore I would say that the Barthes describes the denotative meaning as been too universal, which in relation could suggest it lacks connotative meaning, as it is not universally accepted to all people, reinforcing the fact that the two meanings cannot be distinguished from each other.
In his analytical approach to photography, Barthes introduced a concept of ‘anchorage’ (Chandler, 2002,79) when classifying the meaning of a photograph and text. Barthes describes the structure of the image and text as accompanying each other in the meaning of the message he describes, ‘words and images in a single line of reading’ (Barthes,1977,28) Thus, when the text is beside the photograph it is taken out of context and the preferred reading of an image is portrayed when accompanied by the text.
Barthes focuses on the press photographic image, where bourgeois message is constructed and ideologies are enforced in the text to structure the meaning of the photograph. Indeed this is still evident in our society today- a photographic in a newspaper without doubt is accompanied by ideological messages that construct the meaning of the photograph. For example, ‘Evil doting dad’ (Sun newspaper online,4 July, Nick Parker) is the caption under a photograph of a terrorist suspect with his child.
In addition we would not acknowledge that this man was a terrorist without the caption reinforcing ideological messages to the audience, taking the picture out of context. Therefore this theory can still be widely applied to press images in society today making us instantly having a connotative meaning of the message that the bourgeois portray. In conclusion I believe that much of Barthes work can be applied in media today. My reasoning for this is that much of Barthes work analyses the ideological messages that bourgeois portray in their messages to the audience.
This is still evident today in society, as much of the newspapers and news channels support different political parties, therefore the ideological message portrayed work in favour to support the preferred party. For example Rupert Murdoch owns much of media corporations in the UK, therefore his political biases and personal interpretations are displayed in the news corporations that he owns such as The Daily Mail where often the Labour party is supported as this is said to be Murdoch’s preferred political party.
With reference to Barthes work on the Fashion System again this has had a huge impact on out buying behaviour in society today. Assumptions about this type of manipulation are therefore taken for granted today, as people still buy the commodities in order to stay in fashion and be popular. In relation to Barthes work on style this can also be applied to society today as linguistics still today change their style of writing to fit in with a required time and place in society.
My reason for this is that surely a media reporter will change their style of writing to fit in with the event of the day in order to either support the event or contrast the event to make the audience buy the medium, which increases the production of the medium, increasing the profit. I believe that it will take a long time for a revolution where people don’t believe what the media say, as people are so passive into believing what the media say is true, therefore the hidden ideologies will remain in media.
Word count: 1,702 Bibliography Hawkins 1977,. Structuralism and semiotics, London, Routiledge Barthes, R. Image, Music. Text, 1977, Froutana Press Barthes, R . Mythologies, 2000, Great Britain, Vintage Wasserman,G Roland Barthes, 1981, Boston, Twayne Publishers Barthes, R. Writing Degree Zero & Elements of semiology, 1967, London, Cape Ltd Chandler, D. The Basics Semiotics, 2000, London and New York, Routledge Kellner, D, Advertising and consumer culture, 1995, London Journal of Advertising, Andrews, 1992 Parker,N 2007, ‘Dr Evil Bab born on NHS’, The Sun Newspaper online http://www. thesun. co. uk/sol/homepage/news/article241766. ece Amy Campbell Media Studies Semiotics Essay 1?