repre*SENT*ation

We can read this image with multiple perspectives. Literally or in a denotative sense we understand the image to be a room full of babies but with the aid of the caption and our own context, we see it through a connotative lens. It ultimately becomes a representation of racial discrimination, in relation to the stereotypes that coloured people face in the work force (still to this day). Another angle indicated in this image is the gender stereotypes of women, so typically seen as domestic workers.

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This is a French advertisement from 2010 that confronts racial stereotypes through the use of innocent, infant children. LICRA (the Ligue Internationale Contre le Racisme et l’Antisémitisme; International league against racism and antisemitism) worked with the Publicis Conseil of Paris to conquer the stereotypes that so commonly mould people’s perceptions about themselves and culture.

The caption, “your skin colour shouldn’t dictate your future” contributes to the importance of this advertisement in representing the faults in society towards casting such labels. The child centred is a coloured female baby who is dressed as a cleaner. It is the focal point as it is the main message to be sent. Not only does it challenge the typical racial stereotype towards employment but also the gender stereotype towards women as maids.

Children are the future of society, in this advertisement they act as the motif for change. The fellow babies are all male and they simply watch as the stereotypes continue. This signifies the joint effort necessary to overcome such solid stereotypes. LICRA is sending a clear message about how stereotypes leave a mark on the society today as well as in the future.

This advertisement wasn’t ignored, quite the opposite. It received international attention, including a trophy at the 2010 Cresta Awards. The Cresta Awards recognise original pieces of advertising, giving praise internationally. Their main aim “…to honour an absolute standard of creative excellence”, this ad although very creative, it also very political as it tests our awareness of stereotypes.

Stereotypes are often disregarded and shifted to the side as so many of them are just accepted. The key message is that there should be equal opportunities for all without prejudice. This advertisement represents LICRAs entire aim for their organisation as well as the social issue regarding gender and racial stereotypes. Now that I can fully grasp the concept of semiotics (the study of signs), I see advertisements as just as complex and multifaceted. We can read novels, why not images too?

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[Well, Gaston pictures can be read too because they’re texts.]

 

References:

Simple Research of Cresta Awards: http://cresta-awards.com/About.aspx

Note: Feel free to click on each image for a link to where I found it!

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5 thoughts on “repre*SENT*ation

  1. Hey Sophie! I actually came across this picture when i was searching for idea on my media texts post. I am so glad i didn’t select this picture as you have done it such justice!! I can honestly say that i didn’t pick up on the fact that the coloured child is in fact a female and that the other two babies are male/male looking. It got me thinking that this could have been another way of the media trying to influence women on what kind of jobs we should be taking and what is deemed acceptable. Absolutely loved reading through this post, you completely opened up my eyes to another perspective.

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  2. Hi Sophie!
    Wow, what a confronting image and what a detailed post! You’ve obviously done your research and delved deep into the different connotations of the image and even its reception!
    It’s quite wonderful that the image itself is about how people view something. You could say it’s semiotics in real life. Some people view people of colour and women as ‘maids’ and evidently, those who created the campaign do not.
    I personally found the image quite jolting like yourself. You discussed the racial and gender stereotypes which typecast people based on appearance and gender, of which I 100% agree with. The advertisement is also unsettling for me because it translates a social immobility which has plagued generations for years: “Born poor, stay poor”, or the more popular modern saying “get rich or die tryin” (thanks 50 Cent).
    Hopefully more images like this and more blogs like yours can change people’s perceptions. Can’t wait to hear more from you!
    Ciao for now – Lara

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow Sophie! Once again, such a captivating blog. Well done.
    What an interesting perspective and take on an image that most people wouldn’t pick up just from looking at the image. I love how you’ve explained semiotics by using this image. You can really see how much thought you’ve put into this, along with research of course. You can see that you have a great understanding of the content that we have explored so far in our lectures and tutorials. I always enjoy reading your blogs as I feel you perfectly summarise the content of BCM110 perfectly.

    Keep up the great work! 🙂 Can’t wait to read more of your blogs!

    Like

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