Razors for all humans? A multimodal social semiotic analysis of advertising stereotypes and gender performances
Sammanfattning: This paper aimed to investigate how advertising stereotypes can be challenged or reproduced and how gender is performed, in the context of an allegedly non-stereotypical company. In order to investigate this matter, we conducted a multimodal social semiotic analysis of the Swedish company Estrid, whose razor blades are communicated to all humans. By analyzing various semiotic resources, the paper presents new knowledge on how visual communication both can challenge and reproduce stereotyped and non-stereotyped portrayals. Furthermore, it contributes with knowledge regarding how visual communication can create challenging performances of gender in advertising. The results suggest that Estrid by combining traditional “feminine” and “masculine” connotations, managed to perform inclusive and fluid gender identities which did not define humans in a binary way. In terms of stereotypes, we suggest Estrid managed to challenge advertising stereotypes to a certain degree, but in the process of doing so, they also reproduce traditional stereotypes. In summary, this study illustrates the challenges corporations face when striving to position themselves as inclusive and representative of all humans.
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