Meaning in the eye of the beholder

There are many ways to view an image. Every individual holds different perspectives, values and morals all of which greatly contribute to their personal ideas derived from a photo. Often the ‘denotation’ of an image is perceived commonly among individuals as it may be quite literal and obvious. However, when analysing the connotation of an image a ray of views can be produced.

A great example of an image with differing denotation and connotation views is Lady Gaga’s meat dress at the 2010 VMA awards.

What can we see in the image and what are my initial thoughts? 

What can we see? A meat dress, meat heels, a meet clutch, a meat head piece- lots of red. Thoughts? Firstly, my question was why?! Why would anyone take an extreme leap out of the norms of society and wear a meat dress, especially at an event like the VMA’s? I was confused, it didn’t make sense. Meat is meant to be consumed not worn isn’t it…

Other words that popped to mind… crazy, physco, attention seeker and weird. It wasn’t only the dress but a clutch and head piece too. Extremely over the top I thought.

When I asked friends and family, all their thoughts were along the same path. From an idiot, to wouldn’t that smell- they weren’t impressed. To a few it was obvious she was trying to prove a point… but what this point was isn’t clear.

What is really meant by the image?

Being extremely interested in the mentality behind such an outfit, I conducted some research. Happily, I found out that this outrageous fashion moment held a deeper meaning.

Firstly, I was surprised to have learnt that the dress was made out of real meat! The Los Angeles based designer Franc Fernandez states “The dress is indeed real meat from my family butcher” admitting he bought more than “50 pounds of meat”.

But why meat? From head to toe, Lady Gaga was clearly attempting to bring about a symbolic concept, which she informed Ellen Degeneres of in an interview on the following. She admitted it has “many interpretations” but stated “If we don’t stand up for what we believe in and if we don’t fight for our rights, pretty soon we’re going to have as much rights as the meat on our own bones. And I am not a piece of meat.”

Further, Lady Gaga justifies her outfit ” it is certainly no disrespect to anyone that is vegan or vegetarian. As you know, I am the most judgment-free human being on the earth. However, it has many interpretations, but for me this evening …”

After reading this interpretation and realising her true aim of such a statement I understood her extreme measures. She believed so deeply in standing up for personal beliefs and  successfully brought attention to this concept by turning heads across the world. I came to respect her fashion statement.

So therefore, I believe this image is a true justification of connotations within an image. I do admire her confidence and individuality.


Mapes, J 2010, ‘Lady Gaga Explains Her Meat Dress: “It’s No Disrespect” ‘ , Billboard, viewed 10 April 2015,

Clott, S 2010, ‘Everything You Wanted To Know About Lady Gaga’s VMA Meat Dress!’, MTV Style, viewed 10 April 2015,

Clott, S 2010, ‘Was Lady Gaga’s VMA Meat Dress Real?’, MTV Style, viewed 10 April 2015,

Winterman D, Kelly J 2010, ‘Five interpretations of Lady Gaga’s meat dress’ BBC News, viewed 10 April 2015,

Blog 2: What are the current anxieties about the ‘effects’ of the media? How are these being ‘represented’?

The media, one of the most powerful influences on body image in society is often blamed for presenting unrealistic expectations and stereotypical images to individuals world wide. Every time we turn around a magazine front cover either involves the newest diet, the worlds prettiest model or the ideal body shape. The media tends to display the ‘ideal’ body shape as an unrealistic and sometimes unhealthy image. Often, when a certain celebrity or public figure does not meet this expectation they are critizised for being ‘too fat’ or ‘too thin’. Such acts are seen as current anxieties about the ‘effects’ of the media, and can cause individuals to change their views and expectations on their personal body image. This has the potential to cause individuals to be unnecessarily unhealthy and want to achieve a near unachievable weight. A family frequently exposed to society, the Kardashians are a great example of how the media sets high expectations and an exaggerated reality of body image. Firstly, the following image of Kim Kardashian has been photoshopped to make her appear a lot smaller and thinner.  It is visibly clear through the before and after shot that her legs and hips have been reduced in size. This distorted image presented to society gives young women a misinterpretation of what their body should look like. This can have serious affects on women who do not have good self esteem. kimk 1357142337_u935cover-kourtney-kardashian-lg_0 Further, the image of Kourtney Kardashian provides women all over the world with unrealistic expectations of what their body should look like after pregnancy. It increases unnecessary pressure on women to focus more on their looks than their health. After having a baby a women’s focus should be not only their own health but their babies, so losing a large amount of weight in a short amount of time is not necessarily ideal. itw_cover1-221x300 During Kim’s pregnancy she also made various comments about her devastation in gaining weight and stated that  she lost most of her confidence as a result. Kim quoted “I’d think God was doing this for a reason. He was saying: ‘Kim, you think you’re so hot, but look what I can do to you.” Being such a well known public figure, the media should be responsible for reporting stories that empower pregnant women and not force them to feel uncomfortable and second guess themselves. kendall-jenner-too-fat-for-runway-leadAdditionally, another member of the Kardashian family Kendall Jennar has been slammed in this ‘Famous’ magazine for being ‘too fat for the runway’. These statements are once again ridiculous. It states she has been ‘ordered to loose weight’. Such comments give young girls a distorted perception of an ideal body shape and  can lead to serious unhealthy issues. Kendall Jenner should be portrayed as being a healthy weight for her profession. But then again is it really the medias fault? Individuals can choose to interpret and analyse the media in any way they want. The media doesn’t force an individual to exercise regularly or not at all, nor force them to eat very little, or in a healthy or unhealthy manner. However, I personally believe it has a certain affect on perceptions of the ‘ideal’ body image. Not every women is easily influenced, but young’s girls can be very vulnerable.


Emily, 2014, ‘Kim Kardashian thinks God punished her with pregnancy weight gain’, Elle U.K, viewed 23rd of March, <;

The life of Bronte Leghissa

So first blog post task…. ‘Introduce yourself?’

Quite simple and easy I guess?

My name is Bronte Leghissa, I am 18 years old, have red hair and from the well known ‘shire’. I finished school last year, being more then ready to leave and decided to get straight back into studying by enrolling in a Bachelor of Commerce and Communication and Media Studies at the University of Wollongong. I never really thought about having a gap year… although when I actually started university the realisation set in with the fact I had no choice but to half the amount of paid work I did each week. This hit hard after having a good 4 months of near full time work and with that having freedom to do what I want, when I want. I honestly didn’t realise there would be this much work required to complete in my own time each week and exams haven’t even set in! Four years… it does not sound like fun. It will be long but hopefully rewarding and enjoyable. I must say I do like the environment of university much better than school. Its flexible, a lot more independent and coffee is always available!! I am also lucky that I had a good group of friends starting at Wollongong this year which made fitting in a lot easier. What do I want to get out of my course at Wollongong? Well at the moment my aim is to major in marketing and advertising and then work specifically within the fashion industry. Who knows if this will change!

So while at Wollongong I am working part time at my favourite clothing store Kookai and also as a model. I enjoy both so much and really consider myself lucky to have such fun jobs!

So what else to include about myself…. Hobbies? Well for hobbies I love travelling! I have really been privileged to have visited many countries including Bali, Japan, Canada, America, New Zealand, Fiji and Vanuatu and learn about all their different cultures along the way. My favourite so far? I do love Bali. I have been a good 6 or 7 times so I feel like I know it pretty well. I love their relaxed culture, food and shopping- the markets are so much fun. However, Canada is absolutely gorgeous… I will never forget the view from the peeks of the snow mountains. So for a favourite? I couldn’t tell you.

I also love to spend ridiculous amounts of money on fashion, snow ski, and hang out with friends and family as much as possible. Living a healthy lifestyle and exercising regularaly is also really important to me, although now managing work and university this is getting much harder.

Someone I admire to? This would have to be Jesinta Campbell. I think she is such an independent, strong and confident individual and an inspiration for many young women. Despite an uneasy childhood, she has utilised her brains and beauty to build herself a successful career.

So theres my first and most likely easiest blog completed… ‘The life of Bronte Leghissa’