mythologies.......*.....Roland Barthes, in his 1957 book Mythologies, argues exactly this : that no language use can be separated from structures of ideology and power. Barthes recognised that the signified can operate on two levels of signification- the primary level, that is, the most commonly accepted signified (four legs, barks, smells); and a secondary level of signification - the 'other' signifieds that we come to culturally accept (so with 'dog' this might be 'scoundrel' or 'ugly woman'). The descriptions he used are now common - denotation and connotation.

.............Barthes has a chapter in 'Mythologies' - 'Toys', in which he analyses the denotation and connotation of children's playthings. He was one of the first theorists to recognise that these toys are pre-conditioning children to the gender roles that they will be expected to assume. He says that "All the toys one commonly sees are essentially a microcosm of the adult world"(Barthes, 1972, p.53), and that for instance, a girls doll is "meant to...'condition' her to her future role as mother" (Barthes, 1972, p.53). If we apply this to videogames, we can immediately see that semiotics, especially as applied to ideology, might shed more light on the role that games play in our globalised society. If we are guilty of making too many games for boys, then we might too argue that we are guilty of perpetuating what is expected from boys.

* from:.....The Cultural Study of Games: More Than Just Games
by Matthew Southern

roland barthes

Roland Barthes (1915-1980)

the face of Garbo


Toys -

............."French toys are usually based on imitation, they are meant to produce children who are users, not creators." (p. 54) -toys are a "microcosm" of life -according to Barthes, French toys are an illustration of the belief that children are a miniature reflection of adults -toys offer too much direction - they do not allow children to engage in their own imaginative play

.............By providing children with "artificial" materials and toys are we, in turn, providing them with an "artificial" view of the world?

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