Constructing ideal body appearance for women: a multimodal analysis of a TV advertisement

by Felippe Böhlke, Rossana de

Abstract (Summary)
The multi-semiotic representations enacted by advertising disclose the world views in and through which it is created and consumed. Messages of gender promoting female body insecurity are strategically explored in advertisements to support diverse branches of body alteration industry including pharmaceutics. Thus, a discursive-semiotic content analysis of the national version of a 30-second television advertisement for Xenical, a prescription weight-management drug, is developed with a focus on the multimodal aspects of the dynamic displays of meaning-making resources. The key objective of this study is to carry out a critical examination of discursive-semiotic construction of gender identities, social relations and representations on the basis of the contextual and textual features of the film text. The dynamic unfolding of the images constituting the TV advertisement is based on a model of multimodal transcription of film genre proposed by Baldry & Thibault (2006) in which the visual configuration is divided into phases and organized according to the chronological sequence of the film and then aligned with its verbal information. At the micro level of visual analysis, the representational, interactional and compositional meanings of each shot are taken into account in line with the multimodal semiotic approach proposed by Kress and van Leeuven (1996; 2006). Similarly, the lexicogrammatical analysis of the verbal information/ utterances in the film is carried out in line with the tri-functional conceptualization of meaning proposed by Halliday (1994) and Halliday & Mathiessen, (2004). At the macro level, the contextual features are analyzed drawing upon principles of critical discourse analysis (Fairclough, 2003). The complex metafunctional interpretation of the structures of meaning indicates how visual and verbal meaning-making resources are expertly combined in order to produce, maintain and sustain ideological gender messages reinforcing social inequalities.
This document abstract is also available in Portuguese.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Maria Izabel Santos Magalhães; Susana Bornéo Funck; Débora de Carvalho Figueiredo; José Luiz Meurer; Viviane Maria Heberle

School:Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina

School Location:Brazil

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:literatura linguística aplicada propaganda avaliação semiótica relações de gênero letras


Date of Publication:02/11/2008

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