Interactive Meaning Potentials in Weight-loss Web-advertising: The Female Body in Crisis

DOI: https://dx.doi.org/

Abstract

The common saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words” is no longer questioned in the twenty-first century where information is extensively rendered in visual terms. The rise of digital capture devices and online social media presumes that visual culture is heading towards greater influence in every aspect of life. This paper explores the ways visual representations attract the viewer’s attention, and based on Jewitt and Oyama’s analytical framework of visual social semiotics seeks to understand the meaning-making potentials of weight-loss advertising. Three key factors: distance, contact, and point of view are shown to be crucial in creating complex and subtle relations between the represented and the viewer. I examine several images from a weight-loss website advertisement (www.acaiburnmax.com) to demonstrate how the semiotic resources of meaning making are comprehended, and more importantly, to expose the flawed gender message that only a slim, shapely, beautiful woman is attractive and succeeds in a heterosexual relationship. 


Keywords

advertisements, semiotics resources, slimming, visual culture, website

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Kritika Kultura
Department of English
School of Humanities
Ateneo de Manila University

The Philippine Commission on Higher Education (CHED) declares Kritika Kultura as a CHED-recognized journal under the Journal Challenge Category of its Journal Incentive Program.

International Board of Editors

Jan Baetens
Professor
Faculty of Arts
Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven (Belgium)

Joel David
Professor of Cultural Studies
Inha University (South Korea)

Michael Denning
Professor of American Studies and English
Department of English
Yale University (US)

Faruk
Faculty of Cultural Sciences
Universitas Gadjah Mada (Indonesia)

Regenia Gagnier
Professor of English
University of Exeter (UK)

Leela Gandhi
John Hawkes Professor of the Humanities and English
Brown University (US)

Inderpal Grewal
Professor of Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies
Professor of South Asian Studies, Ethnicity, Race and Migration Studies
Yale University (US)

Peter Horn
Professor Emeritus and Honorary Lifetime Fellow
University of Cape Town (South Africa)
Honorary Professor and Research Associate in German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

Anette Horn
Professor of German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

David Lloyd
Distinguished Professor of English
University of California, Riverside (US)

Bienvenido Lumbera
National Artist for Literature
Professor Emeritus
University of the Philippines

Rajeev S. Patke
Director of the Division of Humanities
Professor of Humanities
Yale NUS College (Singapore)

Vicente L. Rafael
Giovanni and Amne Costigan Endowed Professor of History
University of Washington (US)

Vaidehi Ramanathan
Department of Linguistics
University of California, Davis (US)

Temario Rivera
Professorial Lecturer
Department of Political Science
University of the Philippines

E. San Juan, Jr.
Philippines Studies Center (US)

Neferti X.M. Tadiar
Professor of Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
Barnard College (US)
Director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race
Columbia University (US)

Antony Tatlow
Honorary Professor of Drama
Trinity College Dublin (Ireland)