RETHINKING GENDER, RETHINKING MIGRATION: Images of women
in the semiotic landscape of the Baltic states

Solvita Pošeiko 1
1 - Rēzekne University of Technologies, Latvia
MAeS
2016; 17 (3):
ICID: 1231715
Article type: Original article
IC™ Value: 3.00
Abstract provided by Publisher
 
In researching the linguistic landscape (LL) of nine cities in the Baltic states, this article
will show that female discourse is significant within public areas and spaces. This has been
linguistically proven by female personal names in ergonyms, as well as by female ergonyms
and themes within graffiti texts. However, there are multi-modal advertisements
which display female products publicly, which can be viewed from the perspective of the
semiotic landscape. A total of 294 photos showing women were selected from the LL database
in order to describe visual images of women, by focusing on the archetypes and
concepts of a woman’s role in society.
The research showed that any target audience is linguistically identified more often
than not by age, which social and ethnic group one belongs to, while images emphasize
the target audience more commonly by sex, that is, by female gender, for example, images
of women or female body parts and of women’s products (e.g. women’s clothing on
a mannequin).
Selected materials are generally characterized by absolutization of the perfect appearance,
one which includes the maintaining of certain stereotypes, that a woman is both beautiful
and slender, that she is physically fit, replete with perfect makeup, someone who belongs
to the cult of youth, who reflects how popular and successful women should appear. This is
the standard example, one that exemplifies the need for solitude, narcissism and emotional
concealment, all wrapped up within the glorification of an advertisement for perfume.
According to the data, typical female activities tend to be the receiving of beauty treatments,
various forms of relaxation such as traveling, dancing, visiting the tanning salon or
sunbathing, and most significantly of all, shopping. These images mainly emphasize service-
sector occupations: waitresses, bank employees, flight attendants, masseuses, cabaret
dancers or exotic dancers. In regard to the roles of wife and mother, they are viewed as
social roles, which are represented as being inseparable from each other. The female lover
(flirtatious temptress) and female friend, are two of the most common archetypical images
reflected in the semiotic landscape of the Baltic states.
In conclusion, the visual representation of women in the Baltic states is related to the
perception of life as pleasure, emphasizing the significance of sensuality and entertainment.
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