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Hello Rose, the clarification went on for longer than 140 characters, so here we are.

I was drawing on the experience of trying to describe instances of subtext prior to knowing the word ‘subtext’, or that it was a thing that you could use deliberately. I’d use words like ‘hidden messages’ to describe it.

People sometimes get uneasy when they hear someone say ‘hidden messages’.

Films and tv shows have innaccurately showed mad people saying stuff like that. It sticks around as a shorthand for bonkers. If you go on to say that in some cases these hidden messages are often coercive, trying to get you to do stuff, then shit gets real.

This was several years ago and coincidentally, I was mad at the time. So as well as recognising subtext in the usual places, (films, plays, books) I’d see them everywhere. It was quite tiring wondering if someone was scratching their nose while standing next to a bus stop To Tell Me Something. But that’s another story.

What has been especially useful is feminist blogs that show stuff that doesn’t seem out of the ordinary at face value, then take it apart to highlight a coercive message.Things like magazine covers, adverts, news and articles.

So yes, without knowing the right words, it’s hard to tell someone that there are hidden meanings that try to make you do things without sounding quite literally insane. It’s difficult to appear grounded when claiming that someone* is saying one thing, but meaning another because of the context.

*or to add to the mess, a sene in a film, a picture or a juxtaosition of pictures.



Written by alexwalsh

May 14, 2012 at 12:17 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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