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Legitimising male grooming through packaging discourse: a linguistic analysis

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2015
<mark>Journal</mark>Social Semiotics
Issue number3
Number of pages22
Pages (from-to)364-385
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date2/04/15
<mark>Original language</mark>English


While packaging is a common marketing subject, this illustration paper provides an alternative perspective through the linguistic examination of packaging as discourse, focusing on male grooming, masculinity and metrosexuality. Male grooming is often perceived as trespassing into feminine space and creating ambiguity in gender borders. This study aims to explore how packaging designers negotiate masculinity, in order to persuade men to accept grooming products through social interactions within the packaging of L’Oréal Men Expert. Employing Scollon’s mediated discourse analysis and incorporating the Barthesian order of signification, the study analyses how different social actions within the packaging discourse are mediated by multimodal features. The findings reveal five negotiating strategies, i.e. constructing a hegemonic
masculine image; negotiating (a masculinised) metrosexuality; empowering men;
giving men a logical reason to groom; and a different portrayal of skincare products. The key aim of this paper is to illustrate the differences between marketing and linguistics and propose possible collaboration.