Semiotics – What are meanings attached to visual codes of gender.



Many of today’s signs for genders are split up into different categories. Society itself has made up this division . For instance hair length, colour/style of clothing, physical build and height. All of which is a representation into different symbols from the media. Many of which change as time progresses. One example would be the change of pink from being a boys colour in the 19th century to the transition to a girl’s colour to today’s time. In the ‘1960’s, with it’s anti-feminist, anti fashioned message’.(Maglaty, 2011) Unisex then became in fashion, with pink removed from the masculine section. Another reason for transitioned was the fact that due to boom of unisex clothing it meant  baby’s from the previous generation were passing on their clothes to the next. Therefore companies pushed for a different rhetoric. This was female pink colours.

This colour perception however is just social construction as there isn’t hard proof evidence that we are attached to these visual codes .For instance ‘in 2007, Research conducted at Newcastle University asked adults for their favourite colour. The colour which come out top, for both men and women was red and blue’ (BBC future, 2014). On the contrary you could still argue that the perception for boys wearing pink would be acceptable in comparison to a girl wearing blue.


However these visual codes have not only just stemmed from the colours of clothes.  Society has manipulated us to believe in certain ways according to our gender. For instance kids from a young age are put into two different sections of toys. With the boys encouraged to play with action man toys and girls encouraged to play with the Barbie dolls. This problem has led to boys and women getting bad influences from visual codes based on their gender. With many visual codes leading women to be influenced that women have be skinny. Research found Girls “aged five to six were more dissatisfied with their shape and wanted more extreme thinness after seeing Barbie doll images than after seeing other pictures”(Hains 2014). This has led to constant added pressure particular on young females to be this certain way even though it is impossible to achieve for most. This pressure is the same is with boys as it could be said that boys are aspired to be strong and headstrong with a women by their side rather than lettign out their gentle feminine side.


BBC News Future (2014) University of Newcastle Evidence on male and female colours.At: (Accessed on 8/05/16)

 Maglaty, J. (2011) When Did Girls start wearing pink. At: (Accessed on 8/05/16)

Hains, R. Reason to Not buy barbie dolls. At Developmental Psychology (Accessed on 7/05/16)


Fairytale – In what ways might Propp’s structural analysis be helpful when analysing stories?

Vladimir Propp’s theory was the constant repeating plot devices which appeared in Russian Folk tales however this theory can also be applied to Western Folk-tales as well.  With the structure stemming into classic folk-tales like sleep Beauty and Cinderella. However also ‘in more modern works like labyrinth, the lord of the rings,Star Wars and Pan’s Labyrinth.’ – (Propp’s Folk-tales, 2015).


Propp’s theory is broken down into many different structures relating to the story. One being the uses of characters in the story. In terms of characters Props usually divides the characters into key-roles which also occur in many of the stories today. This structure of narrative in most cases starts with the opening in which the characters are most likely in some form of neutral setting. Although in some cases such as Cinderella we already are presented with an obstacle. For instance in the story Cinderella, we already have the villain’s being the ugly step daughters. As they stop her from going to the ball.


As the story of Cinderella goes on she is met by her fairy godmother. This is the donor. As she presents Cinderella with the Abilities to go to the ball. This is also accompanied by the Helpers ( the mouse’s) who aids Cinderella. This leads onto the saving of the prince which in this case is a role reversal of the cliche, damsel in distress.


This structure however is not just used in fairy tales. We can also compare this structure to most films nowadays. For instance Avatar is a story which also opens up like Cinderella in which he is at a disadvantage as his brother is successful. This all changes when dispatcher needs Jake’s help to become an Avatar, this is the dispatcher. He then meets Grace who at first is unimpressed with Jake’s abilities however eventually acts as the Donor as she gives the knowledge  to become part of the indigenous people. In this involved with the indigenous people he meets Neytiri the princess who Jake falls in love with. However the conflict happens when Colonel Miles the Villain in this movie tries to fulfill his mission.


Propp’s use of strategy is very good at breaking down stories into clear and easy plots. However in terms of author’s basing their stories around his theory I don’t think happens very often. With JK Rowling for instance  basing her characters around a story instead. In addition to that there have been many of other theories for films for instance which also do the same thing  in breaking down the story.

(see fig. 1.)

For instance Syd field uses a similar structure but in this case for films. This theory is mainly used for the Hollywood movies. In which they use Goal-Oriented methods in their film.


 Figure 1. Syd Field Structure (n.d) (Accessed 1/05/16)



Propp’s function of Folk-tales, (2015) At (Accessed 1/05/16)



Difference- The Creation of Otherness

The creation of otherness is a western creation which relates to an individual or something that is placed in the ‘them’ category. One example would be ethnic appropriation: used in western society. For instance people involuntary use ethnic terminology to describe people in the ‘Them category’. For example a White person would be described like ‘did you met my friend Dave, big bulky guy’ as opposed to the description of an Ethnic person being ‘Did you meet my friend Dave. Big Black Guy’. This creation of otherness however goes deeper than just ethnic appropriation. All of which comes under Binary Oppositions.


Binary Oppositions are terms which are on the opposite end of the spectrum. Whether that’s Man or Women, White or black, Civilized or Barbaric ect. However these opposites have created many stereotypes with the ideology of Us and the them. For instance with Western Society seeing themselves as the pinnacle of civilization, they see the Middle-East for instance as uncivilized. With many people seeing the middle east as misogynistic and sexist with many of the right-wing news outlets in UK for example painting a picture of Muslims as terrorists.


This Us and them Ideology is not just with the Middle Eastern ethnic group but all people of non-white descent. For instance in the Tv Series ‘Daredevil, season 1’ , the Antagonist’s are all categorized from their ethnic descent apart from the American’s. In their case they are given backstory to why there in Crime. With the Chinese, the Japanese and Russian just appropriated with the fact that they are from the Other category so that’s the reason they had to turn to crime. This exemplifies the western trait of being above the rest.

Prince Ea

(I am Not black, you are NOT white, 2015)

This term of power in Western Society is highlighted with the description of Black People throughout Western history. As you all know the history of western society with Black People has gone from slavery to Segregation to Racism to Categorization. With a result of this many different black images have been painted by the media in western society. The Tom image is one example. This paints the picture of a person who has internalized the hatred to white people who have oppressed him, usually in movies he is portrayed as a butler to the white family. The Buck is another example of a black image. This image on the other hand is the exact opposite of ‘The tom’. This image portrays black people to be highly sexual and primitive creatures. This is image is usually associated with gangsters and in the past monkeys such as King Kong for instance.


This trend however stems to rest of the world being inferior to white people ‘with a booming ‘rent a foreigner policy’ (Chen, 2016) aimed at domestic businesses that want to appear more western’. As we see people judged just on there race as being above on another person.


With these binary Opposites of us and them. There is intense pressure on Ethnic Descent in White Society to become almost White. With people made to idolise blonde playboy models and reject their Afro Hair and straighten it instead. In society today we do have some black empowering figures such as Beyonce however western society I believe have used them to keep the peace between the Black and White people. One example would be  having a token black women in a movie to show multiculturalism.This however does not solve the issue that ethnic people still have a greater challenge in breaking into the music industry than a white person for example. In order to solve this problem we need to remove binary opposites present in western society. With western society not just accepting people due to their ethnic descent but for their individual talent.



Prince EA (2015) I am NOT black and you are NOT white Available at: (Accessed: 30/5/16)


Anelise Chen (2016) China’s Rent-a-Foreigner Policy at (Accessed on 1/05/16)





Why is identity so important in today’s society?

Identity in the modern day society is mankind’s cling to self importance. As we conform to these new ideas as new possibilities and revolution. Since the creation of Europe and imperialism, we have sought the will of new ideas in the pursuit of new opportunities.For example: in Ancient Greece we sought to create society, philosophy. In Ancient Roman times we sought to create democracy as well as a developed system of aristocracy. These idea till this day still hold a big part of society today even though Ancient Roman existence has been long past. These civilizations changed us from the hunter gather to a worker and soon. With this deep and vast structure of society in place it has led us to many outcomes such as colonialism which has spread these imperialistic  ideals of religion and nationalism across the world.


Nowadays we review our multiculturalism as revolutionary and unique. However we can take this idea from Roman times. For instance the dissent to people of non-roman descent. For example if you were non roman you could not represent their society which is vastly similar today.


This ideal can be mirrored to Vincent Van Gogh and his value in art today. For example he was not valued when he was alive due to his background however once absent from society altogether, he then became the most famous artist that ever lived. Meaning that when your are alive and you’re not from from a particular background in the society or were not what they would like you to be they wouldn’t accept you. Since his death in itself created this non-human ethereal being. Are we to acknowledge people only when they are dead due them being conformed to society’s acceptance?


In article in the Guardian a man from the native rainforest of brazil visits the western world his view really fascinated particularly on the way for instance we ‘are used the hoarding their goods and keeping them locked up. They probably tell themselves: “I possess all these things alone. I am so clever, I am an important man. I am rich!”(Vidal, 2014) This does mean that Wealth is judged on success in western world and rather than being content to what we do we have to prove to other that we are successful.


We are all different, therefore we are all individuals with different languages and different work patterns for instance. We see only individuals as being the ones that make an effort to emphasize their individuality rather than everybody.


However with us trying to hide our individuality internally, could that be a factor that could disrupt individuality altogether? For instance dress codes and making people idolize to one way of thinking, could homogenize society. I believe this theory to be far fetched as our society is so divided already. So I don’t think society will remove itself completely from self-identification. However it does bode many question such as how do we deconstruct individuality ? Is it just a social construct or a microcosm and a niche fascination in our society. Like our earth being a tiny planet civilization in the universe.

Vidal, J (2014) The Guardian Article about an Indigenous Brazilian visiting the western world at (Accessed on 20/04/16)

Chronotopia – Does Time Matter


Does Time Matter

Time I believe is a matter of no looking back.With time invented in ancient times with China having  ‘Marked candles used for telling the time in sixth century CE’(Rodgers, 2008). I believe that only humans have used time as a way of creating our modern day society. Humans living in today’s society have been born to believe time is just a part of our senses, also like the human creation of numbers. Numbers and time in itself don’t mean anything but they seem to be catalyst to our human civilization. ‘We worry about “wasting” time, as though it is a finite substance’(Hammer, 2012). I don’t understand our fascination. With society so enchained into the fact that our life ends when the clock stops.

With the world so fixated around time we have become a slave to it in our life.

As the world spins…so does the clock! We continue to base ourselves around something that isn’t real and that has no physical presence other than the clocks we create to show it.

Although I can continue to complain about humanity’s enslavement to time I believe that time is a valuable concept that we must come to accept that society has built around it. With time I believe that one of its usefulness is that it gives us the opportunity to organised our memories in into that time frame. For instance ‘that happened to in 2008 was 13’. In terms of using the element of time in our life, I believe that time is valuable resource in which it is often neglected. Although we have conjured this way of thinking of time it is often wasted. With modern day’s societies never stopping and reflecting on their lives. We keep inputting effort into time we have spent but we hardly ever reflect and look back. It is only when we are asleep is when we find time for that.

 Time in modern day society is a good concept to test and evaluate skills. For instance we can measure time spent revising and then match it up to how much we need to pass a test. In terms of metrics we need time to measure how fast a car would go. So time is used to make units such as km per hour. This speed and measurement helps us determine speed limits. Without a valuable use of timing how would we know how fast to go on certain small roads with pedestrians compared to motorways in which people need travel at a moderately fast rate but at the same time not too fast that it’s dangerous.

In conclusion I do believe that the element of time being a man creation could be seen as a form of enslavement and man-made element. On the other-hand I can also say that due to the society I grew up in that it isn’t all that bad. We can say for us to scrap this way of thinking in our modern day society would be like hindering human development. Something that has existed as an idea for thousand of the years. Yes could argue that we could find another substitute. Yet that time has not come and due to its value and usefulness in measuring productivity for instance our society. I believe the concept of time does matter and long may it exist.



Rogers, L (2008) Brief History of time at, (Accessed on 8/04/16)

Hammer, E (2012) New York Times Blog on opinions of time at (Accessed on 9/04/16)

What does it mean to be Human

What does it mean to be Human

Being Human is what you make of it. Break the rules. Not the law but think outside the box. Being human is your sense of yourself others around you. Being human in my opinion is also to accept your inner animal. In my eyes humans are like children who had no parents and that we were feral creature for many years in the caveman ages. However we have somehow got smarter and more intellectual into the modern era. We also must remember the continuing evil traits surrounding our race. I still do believe we are the most cruelest race on the planet as we are the only animals that put so much abuse on our own kind. Other animal kingdom may have women doing different roles for instance but they don’t have racism and prejudice like we do.


Humans Greed could be argued that it is part of us being predators, however surely we have evolved into more intelligent creatures. With us being more intelligent surely we can adapt to protect animals from extinction. With us being at the top of the food chain you would think we would think wisely about our decisions and not destroy the ecosystem. This is not the case though as we have abused our power completely and we are destroying the earth. Although there is talk of us trying to curve and correct these reckless changes, I believe that there won’t be a long term solution in ages and it maybe too late. Maybe the end of humans will be when the earth has had enough of us in which it kills us in natural disasters before we kill it. Maybe the demise in itself is also part of being human and that our time is up?
western world in words

(See Fig. 1)


I then stop to think. That although we have a deep problems we can still change. We have come this far in technology, can’t we iron out the mistakes? However isn’t that what make us still animals? Instead of ‘ironing’ out the mistakes, can we actually fix them. We see that humans are able to accomplish many things. Such as Nelson Mandela and Gandhi’s triumph against injustice and Malala’s fight for education. We begin to realize that although we perceive the world to be black with only glimmers of light surely. It could also be flipped in that human life is bright creation with black spots of imperfections.


“Culturally, we are more like an entire adaptive radiation, similar to the dinosaurs, birds, and mammals, than a single biological species”

Wilson (n.d)


For me Humans still have a lot to learn. We need to look after each other and our surroundings more often and that our desire for more personal possessions may have blinded ourselves to have a future of culture less and so called perfect and divine human beings in which we play god. Our Greed could escalate and I feel this will be the end. When we slowly lose our humanity altogether and although we will be somewhat human, the soul that we once had will be truly gone.


Figure 1. Western World in Words pictures (N.D) [Diagram] At (Accessed on 29/03/16)


How we  are different to other Species

Wilson. D (n.d). How we  are different to other Species at (accessed on 29/03/16)

Characters – How do characters engage audiences?


How do characters engage audiences?

Characters are separated into Main Characters and Sub Characters. In terms of engaging the audience most of the time the Main Characters are the main attraction for the audience. For instance in the movie ‘Marvel’s Iron Man’ we meet the comically adapted depiction portrayed by Robert Downey Jr. Why do we like him? In my opinion you obviously got to get the character’s appearance appealing to the audience. In this case he represents the genre of movie and his character depiction. For other movies it would be fitting a character that links to the genre and story. This would be the movie casters job would be to pick the perfect person in that role.

In terms of personality for a character ‘Tony is witty, intelligent, emotionally torn by his relationship with his father, desperate to help his friends, suffering from PTSD, heroic, and charming’(Reith, 2015).However In that sense the humanness of his character makes have that even deeper connection to the characters.


Characters which would depict a personality of villain for me would be Davy Jones in Pirates of the Caribbean. One element of a villainous character that they need to do is capture a negative attitude towards the audience as well as ‘what their backstory and motivations are for doing what they are doing’ (Manus, 2012).

In the movie we see a cruelness in Davy Jones’s personality as he enchaines people to his own cause. This characterisation really does help set up the construction of the film. Without these visual standout characteristics for the villainous characters how do we engage the audience? How do we present these standout differences between good and evil.


However on both sides in this instance Davy Jones and Iron Man are also presented with imperfectness.This gives the audience a deeper connection to them being life like and human. As the saying goes no one is perfect, we develop like real life relationships to these characters such as an emotional attachment. For instance I was consumed and heartfelt by Iron Man’s father problems, relationship issues, arrogance and eccentric lifestyle that had convoluted his vision. For me I want to reach out and share the load and help him on his mistakes. However once we take a step backwards we then to realise that they are not real and that this is just a very effective way at developing a deep emotional bond with. This emotional bond for character to publicly shown in events such Comic Con in which we will display our love for our specific characters. When i was young iron man inspired me to be a free thinking person.

Question to why Tony Stark is such as likable character

Reith. H (2015). Question to why Tony Stark is such as likable character at (Accessed on 22/03/16)

Manus. D (2012). Expert view on what makes a good villain at (Accessed on 22/03/16)