Event Title

Military Issued Equality: A Semiotic Analysis of "The Invisible War's" Portrayal of Sexual Assault in the Military

Presenter Information

Carrera Allred

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

College

College of Art & Letters

Major

Communication Studies

Session Number

1

Location

RM 215

Juror Names

Moderator: Proffessor Kathryn Ervin

Start Date

5-21-2015 2:00 PM

End Date

5-21-2015 2:20 PM

Abstract

There are currently 200,000 women serving in the American Armed Forces, but only represent approximately 14.5% of the military population. Women are expected to uphold the same standards as men, but are most likely to be victims of sexual assault. In the media, military women are often misrepresented as victims. This research study analyzes the representation of military women in the film The Invisible War through a semiotic analysis, and sought to discover how the women may be portrayed as victims in the documentary. The methodology used in this study was semiotic analysis, which is the study of signs and symbols and how viewers come to associate meaning with each symbol. There were three findings which revealed how military women are portrayed as victims in the film. First, women are displayed as being unable to protect themselves. Second, women were shown as overly emotional victims through excessive crying. Finally, the film continually emphasized the women’s womanhood and marginalized their military identity by consistently portraying the women in civilian attire. The potential of equality between men and women in the military is possible, since gender is a socially constructed concept. However, because the media consistently portrays women as victims, society may come to associate all military women as victims. Key Terms: Sexual Assault, Military Women, Victims, Semiotics

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May 21st, 2:00 PM May 21st, 2:20 PM

Military Issued Equality: A Semiotic Analysis of "The Invisible War's" Portrayal of Sexual Assault in the Military

RM 215

There are currently 200,000 women serving in the American Armed Forces, but only represent approximately 14.5% of the military population. Women are expected to uphold the same standards as men, but are most likely to be victims of sexual assault. In the media, military women are often misrepresented as victims. This research study analyzes the representation of military women in the film The Invisible War through a semiotic analysis, and sought to discover how the women may be portrayed as victims in the documentary. The methodology used in this study was semiotic analysis, which is the study of signs and symbols and how viewers come to associate meaning with each symbol. There were three findings which revealed how military women are portrayed as victims in the film. First, women are displayed as being unable to protect themselves. Second, women were shown as overly emotional victims through excessive crying. Finally, the film continually emphasized the women’s womanhood and marginalized their military identity by consistently portraying the women in civilian attire. The potential of equality between men and women in the military is possible, since gender is a socially constructed concept. However, because the media consistently portrays women as victims, society may come to associate all military women as victims. Key Terms: Sexual Assault, Military Women, Victims, Semiotics