Ideologies


Ideologies

Schools and Churches are institutions in society where priests and teachers act as spokespersons to spread a certain set of attitudes, beliefs and values. Similarly, Hollywood is also a very powerful modern day institution, where a star\'s image can reappropriate, shape and circulate societal myths and ideologies. The construction of a star\'s image as a commodity of their societal myths and ideologies, has the extraordinary power to exert messages so that even the smallest details become significant yet not overtly obvious. How a star\'s image is produced and then consumed can justify a society\'s relationship with that image and therefore aid in explaining the social construction of what society deems as their \'reality\'. A star\'s image is created through a range of representations churned out by Hollywood. Capitalism from the commercialisation of these images has made Hollywood the domineering force it is today. A re-emerging image in Hollywood is that of the sex symbol, epitomised by Marilyn Monroe in the 1950\'s. Monroe is Hollywood\'s archetypical sex symbol, where the cultural phenomena she creates, instigates her immortal and legendary status. The first ever issue of Playboy magazine features Marilyn Monroe as the covergirl. By decoding meaning from this magazine cover, the visual and written text becomes a communicator for both obvious and subtle meaning conveyed through her image.

Marilyn Monroe\'s image is communicated through signs and their codes. The paradigm (her facial expression, gesture, body language, positioning, written text, background, dress, colours, lighting and camera angle) carries meaning and can be considered signifiers. In the second order semiological system, the signifiers become signs which then signify \'preferred meanings\' with signification that draws from metasigns and ideologies.

The slogan \'Entertainment for Men\' is a signifier for the down classing of females as nothing more then sexual objects in our society. As a sign, the written text can be categorised as an icon as it directly connotes Marilyn Monroe as being \'Entertainment for Men\', a playmate valued only for her body. This sign heavily draws on the inferior position that women held in the 1950\'s. The slogan only reinforces the 1950\'s discourse of a male dominated world where women were considered the \'lesser\' sex. This cultural myth relies on the belief that men are the breadwinners who have the supposed right to monopolise and dominate females. Media industries were controlled by males, therefore Marilyn Monroe\'s image served the interests of men by legitimising their power. This creates a marketable image aimed at a well defined audience that is male. Classing Marilyn Monroe as merely \'Entertainment for Men\' contributes to behavioural ideologies in society for women to act as objects for male desires. The myths drawn from such slogans creates for females a sense of inferiority, where in Monroe\'s case, her body and sexual allure were her only resources. The ideologies circulating in society naturalised Monroe\'s image as being the cultural norm and something which women should aspire to be for the benefit of males.

Marilyn Monroe established her temptress image through multiples of publicity shots. An important element contributing to this image, which is clearly displayed in this magazine cover, is her facial expression. Marilyn Monroe established a universally familiar expression, her face raised, mouth open and bared teeth, which became vital to her image. These idiosyncrasies of her facial expression are signifiers which help to create her marketable and sexual image. The open mouth and bared teeth become overt signs of sexual allure, playfulness and seductiveness. This contributes to the ideologies that females have to appear as a sexual object to remain a marketable image in society. Marilyn looking upwards, together with the photograph taken from a camera below her(angled upwards), becomes a sign of a male\'s superiority over a female. Marilyn Monroe\'s way of tilting her head, implies she is looking upwards seductively at a male reader. This is significant as it becomes a super-real embodiment of a male\'s desire, where the reader is made to feel superior over her. Her expression plays on the text that she is \'Entertainment for Men\' reinforcing the ideological discourse of females as being subversive in the 1950\'s.

Body language such as that displayed on the Playboy magazine cover is a key signifier to Marilyn Monroe\'s cult status. Her gesture as if waving to an