‘Identities are constituted within, not outside representation’ (S. Hall and P. Du Gay. 1996. Questions of Cultural Identity. London: Sage. P.4) To what extent do you think fashion media plays a role in the construction of identities?
Identity in the modern landscape comes with many forms and how we absorb external information is believed to mold the way in which we are perceived and how we are performing bodies. Whether we place ourselves within the social sphere or not, it is mediated control over a system of images, text and ideas that evidently exists to both parties, some believe that they are void of absorbing information given to us through the media, and others are happy to consume this controlled information. If we are a part of this media sphere, then it’s questioned if our identities our constructed within this controlled feed of ideas and representations or our being is innate to each individual, Hall & du Gay (1996) Media within the modern landscape has advanced, with increasingly personalized communication techniques and specific ways of maintaining addresser-addressee relationships. Louis Althusser, with extensive research and methodologies, associated his central thesis by grasping ideology and particularly ‘interpellation’. Althusser’s theory is an introductory premise, the: “Hey you!” theory, which carries the notion of individuals becoming subjects, of ideological status, in a street the hailed individual will turn round, ‘by this mere one-hundred-and-eighty-degree physical conversion, he becomes the subject’ (Althusser, "Lenin and Philosophy" and Other Essays, 1970, p. 118). This theory applied to the modern and historical fashion media landscape, which in the increasing age of network-ability makes a large percentage of the population relevant within an identity conscious, arts and culture driven social sphere, encompassing all sectors of the subject. Fig 1 displays this execution, Time Magazine’s interpolating cover featuring the word ‘You’ as a clear headline, you the audience are pulled into this statement because you are placed within the discourse of the magazine cover. Pertinent today, to our construction of an identity could be looked at our forms of consumption, magazines. Consistently audiences are addressed in second person pronoun, “Do you want better skin?” This direct method of communication encompasses the genre of consumers in one social sphere, maintaining a addresser-addressee tone, who will take this information, whether it’s at face value or has resonance. By examining the interpellation theory, it will devise how as a social sphere our information consumption can have some influence in how we perceive ourselves, and how we are perceived, through ideology and being a receiver of a system of signs, associating ourselves within constituted identities. Succeeding this, we will be able to see how we are interpolated into media particularly through new media and the techniques in place. Fashion media is a critical source of identity analysis and has been scrutinized for years, because of it’s personability and aptitude to address our image, which constitutes an identity and an image that we aim to project externally, through clothing alone, supported by celebrity culture, arts, history and consumer goods.
Fashion is an identifiable commodity that historically has always visually and culturally represented who we are, what status we uphold and can also allow for quick judgment or conclusion of person within seconds of meeting. Fashion aims to project the elements of us as people, different cultures express different understandings of life; it is an unspoken language, which communicates life style or status, religious following to tribal living. It’s extensive and has been studied for over many years, Roland Barthes claims that ‘Fashion and literature in fact utilize a common technique whose end is to seemingly to transform an object into language’ (Barthes, 1990, p. 12). It...
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