Monday, October 08, 2007

Signifier; signified

IMG_6371_1So just yesterday I passed a wedding party out taking pictures in the cloudy weather. They were sort of following me down the road as I walked, and when I stepped out of a store, I accidentally walked into one of their shots.

The bridesmaids were in plain black, their arms crossed with cream coloured pashmina scarves wrapped around them like stoles. Cold, no doubt.

I scooted out of there so as not to get in the way any more than I already had. As I did, the photographer was in the process of setting up her next shot. The bride was busy arranging herself behind a wrought iron fence under the photographer's direction, her arms tangled in the bars, holding her flowers out in front of her. Her new husband was in the background, to the left of her, and not behind the fence.

The shot was perfect. Being the sucker I am for semiotics, I set about my analysis and commentary.

The contrast between white bride and black bars, groom dressed head to toe in black. Though the fence was shaped artistically like leaves, it still resembles a cage, the bride a captive, reaching out from behind the bars. Soft body, hard iron, weak woman, strong institution, forged by the sweat and strength of men. The bars were disguised with ornaments, just as the oppressiveness of the institution is disguised through the hegemonic ideology of patriarchy. Marriage as prison, but only for the woman, because the man is noticeably free of restraint.

If I was writing a paper for school I'd remark about the implicit violence and sexual tension in the image, quote Marx, Gramsci and some feminists about hegemony, society and the institution of marriage, but as it was I suddenly realized that what was going through my head was also coming out of my mouth and maybe they could hear.


I'm such a fucking asshole sometimes.

But still, do these people not know how they look and the message it sends? How could such an image possibly be interpreted in a positive way?

Or maybe I'm just retarded for believing in crap like equality.