Semotics: Signifiers + Signifieds = Signs


Two years ago I entered a pageant and won the title of Miss Albert County and continued on to the Miss New Brunswick Pageant where I was a finalist and won Miss Talent New Brunswick 2011. I was really excited when I got my invitation to participate in the Miss New Brunswick pageant, but I knew that I would have to have some professional photos taken to be used in their promotional materials.

I took a gown, my crown and my sash to a local photographer (and also a good friend of mine) so that she could take some pictures that I would be able to submit. To my surprise, when I got there she pulled out an old pair of boots and encouraged me to wear them in some of the pictures. I laughed so hard because I knew exactly what she was trying to do. You see, Albert County is a very small and rural area and most people who live there own farms. She wanted to play on the idea that I was going to be representing a community of farmers.

Now that I am taking this class, I recognize that she was using the boots as a signifier. People who were looking at both the boots and my title would make the connection, creating the signified. Between the boots and the idea that I came from a small farm town, the audience was able to distinguish the sign that this was the part of New Brunswick that  was representing. The other girls thought that this photo was hilarious and were quite jealous that they hadn’t thought of something like that!

– Erika Murray


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