Media Representation of the Human Body: Discourse Analysis of Advertisements
AbstractEven though advertisements represent a world of its own, they are an inevitable part of different kinds of media. The purpose of advertising is not only to promote a product but also to transfer messages, values and ideas in order to make emotional connections with brands. By building emotional attachment, advertisers increase and strengthen consumers’ responses. The promoting of the advertisements’ images becomes much more important than promoting the product itself. Nowadays, an increasing interest in representing a human body along with different kinds of products and services has become a commonplace among advertisers. Representation of the body is a socially constructed phenomenon. In other words, social processes shape perceptions of our bodies and these perceptions (re)create human experiences of the body. The authors’ approach includes qualitative discourse analysis of advertisements. The objective was to identify the relationship between the human body and textual messages as integral components of the advertised item taken in consideration, as well as the ways in which they interact with the reader’s overall experience. For this purpose, different advertisements that contain visual and textual messages representing human bodies have been analysed. They were all published in the following lifestyle magazines: Cosmopolitan, Playboy, Men’s Health, during 2012 and 2013. The authors conclude that media representations of a human body as social phenomena perceive value and treat the body in different ways depending on the relationship between the advertisement, the textual message and the human body.
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