Semiotic Analysis of Gender Constructions among Facebook Users in Kenya
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This study aimed at examining how male and female identities are constructed using visual images posted in particular Facebook Groups frequented by Kenyans. To this end, the theory of Visual Social Semiotics by Kress and van Leeuwen (1996; 2006) was employed in the interpretation of data. A descriptive qualitative approach was employed where particular features of the images were identified, described and interpreted. A total of six images were purposively selected from five Facebook Groups and a content analysis, with a checklist used to identify relevant features for analysis. The study found out that there is a major change in the identities of both males and females. Even though there was a desire by men to retain their dominant position, the images showed a shift from the traditional muscular, strong, powerful and macho male towards a vulnerable, weak and prone-to-criminal acts man. Female's identities have also changed from the traditional one, who was always associated with the kitchen, child birth towards a more assertive, powerful and professional identity. As a result, the study recommends that the Kenyan society ought to take a more serious look into the welfare of the boy-child as it appears that the boy child has been left behind by a more-empowered Kenyan girl.
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