The following image is very simple. The signifiers include; The heading: The “offside” rule explained to women, the box on the right with a open door and the words kitchen written inside of it, the stick figure drawing of a woman outside of the box with an arrow pointing towards her with the word offside written underneath. The content of this image is today considered sexist and offensive and clearly targeted at a male audience.
The offside rule is a common rule in sport which relates to player positioning. Rugby Union, Rugby League, Soccer and American Football are all examples of sports which enforce the offside rule. These sports are traditionally male dominated therefore the picture draws upon the prior knowledge of its intended male audience.
The picture takes the offside rule and instead of using opposing players the woman is considered ‘offside’ because she has left the kitchen. The underlining meaning of the message is that women belong in the kitchen and anywhere else is not acceptable.
Despite this atrocity of an image, the ideas portrayed would have been acceptable during the 1950’s where the social norm included the suppression of women and one of their main duties was to tend to every need of her husband. “This was also the era of the “happy homemaker.” For young mothers in the 1950s, domesticity was idealized in the media, and women were encouraged to stay at home if the family could afford it. Women who chose to work when they didn’t need the pay check were often considered selfish, putting themselves before the needs of their family.” (PBS.org, 1999)
In the 21st Century the portrayal of women is extremely different. If this image were idealized in the media today the repercussions would be contradictory to those sixty years ago.
PBS.org, People & Events: Mrs. America: Women’s Roles in the 1950s, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/pill/peopleevents/p_mrs.html, 1999-2001
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