Legitimising male grooming through packaging discourse:a linguistic analysis

Cheong, Huey Fen and Kaur, Surinderpal (2015) Legitimising male grooming through packaging discourse:a linguistic analysis. Social Semiotics, 25 (3). pp. 364-385. ISSN 1035-0330

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While packaging is a common marketing subject, this illustration paper provides an alternative perspective through the linguistic examination of packaging as discourse, focusing on male grooming, masculinity and metrosexuality. Male grooming is often perceived as trespassing into feminine space and creating ambiguity in gender borders. This study aims to explore how packaging designers negotiate masculinity, in order to persuade men to accept grooming products through social interactions within the packaging of L’Oréal Men Expert. Employing Scollon’s mediated discourse analysis and incorporating the Barthesian order of signification, the study analyses how different social actions within the packaging discourse are mediated by multimodal features. The findings reveal five negotiating strategies, i.e. constructing a hegemonic masculine image; negotiating (a masculinised) metrosexuality; empowering men; giving men a logical reason to groom; and a different portrayal of skincare products. The key aim of this paper is to illustrate the differences between marketing and linguistics and propose possible collaboration.

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Journal Article
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Social Semiotics
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06 Oct 2017 19:37
Last Modified:
22 Nov 2022 05:01