We began this session by discussing the theory of Roland Barthes and his idea of a structural fashion system. In this theory he explains how “fashion creates its own semiotic language” which influences the way in which we think and how we portray certain signs. Semiotics, the study of signs, allows us to think in terms of denotation and connotation. Denotation being what we physically see and connotation being what it implies what the signs actually mean. As an example of this, we discussed the image below and spoke about its denotations and connotations.
As you can see, we came up with a list of denotations and connotations referring to what our first impressions were. Upon first impression we thought it was a woman but after some analysis, we figured out that it may be questionable whether it is a male or female. In fact, this is the hip hop artist ‘Young Thug’, who is known for wearing womens clothes and being extremely open about his sexuality and gender. This brings us onto the binary scale, the classification of sex and gender. Jean Baudrillard, a French philosopher, says that gender can be copied as a learned behaviour. This is evident in a music video by “Stromae” where he represents multiple genders through performance and visuals. In the video it is clear that he acts as both man and woman in several ways. As you can see, there is a gender classification through colour, stereotypical actions of both genders and also a gender reference through the singers haircut and clothing.
See video here