Visual Analysis of Objectification
On Writing: things that require persistence
The Bigger Picture
/ Start with an outline for your entire paper. Make this outline as detailed as possible, and keep revising the same as you write.
/ State your thesis clearly in the paper���s introduction, ideally at the end of the first paragraph. Your thesis could also be brought out at the beginning of your
second paragraph. The point is to present the reader your argument before moving on.
/ A new idea starts on a new paragraph. Have an opening sentence for each paragraph that allows transitioning from the previous paragraph.
/ Transitions from one paragraph to another in formal writing should be smooth. Find a word or phrase to connect something from the previous paragraph to a new
paragraph as you build a case for your argument.
Allow the reader to flow swiftly through the paper.
/ Blend in your visual, art historical, theoretical, and socio-historical analyses. You could, for instance, write a paragraph on visual/ formal analysis of your work,
then another on art historical comparisons, and then one that talks about the work���s socio-historical/ theoretical relevance. Keep doing this, mixing up the order as
and when appropriate. Of course you could have paragraphs where two of the components, or all of the components are utilized alongside each other. This will be your
/ Find a way of structuring your paper such that you don���t go round and round, repeating ideas already mentioned. Make sure you proceed in a systematic manner. If you
must repeat an idea, do not state it as if you are introducing it. Write about it as if you have already introduced it. Just assume that the reader knows it, and
include it in your paper the second time in that fashion.
/ Make the conclusion reiterate your main ideas, but also add something insightful and thought-provoking to leave the reader impressed. This insight should emerge out
of your overall analysis.
/ Try reading your paper out loud to yourself, since this helps get rid of awkward phrases. Edit a printed out version by hand.
The only way to write well is to revise and re-write.
Details and Techniques
/ Avoid using first-person pronouns. For instance, don’t write, “I think this painting is about the modern landscape,” or “This painting looks like it is about the
modern landscape to me.” Just write, “This painting is about the modern landscape.” Similarly, in stating your argument towards the beginning of the paper, say
something to the effect of “This paper argues …” or “This paper demonstrates how … ”
/ Avoid vague phrases such as ���looked at from a wider perspective��� or ���Since the beginning of time������ Be specific about your point or idea.
/ Avoid being wordy. Delete unnecessary words.
For example, ���has a lasting dramatic effect��� instead of ���has a lasting dramatic effect on the mind.���
or, ���The painting appears melancholic��� instead of ���The painting appears melancholic in nature.���
/ General rule about the apostrophe: The Bateses��� home; Mrs. Bates���s house.
/ Avoid the word ���like.��� Instead, use ���as if���, ���such as���, and so forth.
/ Avoid too many to-be verbs (such as ���is��� and ���was���) since they take away life from your paper.
For example, instead of, ���Sharon is a very insightful girl. She is always performing very well in art history��� say ���Sharon, a very insightful girl, always performs
very well in art history.���
/ Do not use loose demonstratives such as ���this��� or ���that.��� Even when a writer has been introduced to the object you are referring to, be specific with your
Eg.: For my art history class I wrote a research paper. This paper was on the female nude.
/ ���Very unique��� or ���extremely crucial��� are incorrect.
Something unique is just unique and something crucial simply crucial.
Avoid using the word ���interesting��� in formal writing–everything is interesting, isn���t it
/ Leave no spaces between words separated by a dash.
Eg: ���First-person,��� ���grief-laden.��� When using a dash in a sentence to separate a clause from another, use two dashes, again no space should be left before or after the
dashes. Eg.: I found another way of doing my work–I stayed up all night.
/ Give the reader enough information ahead of a quotation to tell her/ him what she/ he is going to read in the quote. A short introduction to the quote is essential.
Similarly, you should expand on a quote after you have used it. If you are using someone else���s words, it is crucial for you to explain how you are using them towards
formulating your own ideas.
/ Never leave an indented quote (only for quotes extending for four lines or more) without an explanation following it. Do not indent the explanation to the quote.
Align the explanation to the margin of the page, since it is simply a continuation of an idea that you started expressing before the quote began.
Eg.: (indent) I was walking down the road when I read this sign. I was walking down the road when I read this sign:
Commentary on quote follows here.
/ Choose verbs that prepare for the quotation���s tone. In other words, avoid bland verbs and use more descriptive ones. For instance, depending on the context, you
could say: she exclaimed, he explained, she argued, ���quote-quote,��� rather than: he said, or she said, ���quote-quote.���
Paper 1: Visual Analysis of Objectification
For this assignment, you should select an example of objectification from popular culture. Advertisements often provide dramatic instances of this type of depiction;
however, you may use any still image, including those taken from film or TV and even non-photographic pictures. It should be relatively contemporary, i.e. widely
available during your lifetime, and popular or mass.
You will then analyze and describe how objectification functions in this image. This will involve providing a definition of objectification (based on Berger���s
writings) and then doing a formal analysis in order to show how those ideas apply to your example. You will need to go beyond identifying objects in the image and
deal with elements like light, color, shape, line, size, texture, composition, and how the viewer interacts with the piece.
All of that information then needs to organized into a clear and correctly written three-to-four-page paper. This should be more than a list-like description. It
should convey a clear sense of the relative importance and/or impact of elements of the picture and provide an argument for interpreting them as objectifying.
Should you wish to pursue a more complicated argument, you could address an example of the objectification of the male figure or explore the relationship between
objectification and Mulvey���s notion of the male gaze.
Your papers will be assessed based on the following rubric.
Choice of Example
5 Innovative or complicated, but correct and insightful example of objectification.
4 Nuanced and/or intriguing illustration.
3 Clear example of objectification.
2 Image contains some objectification, but that is not central to the work���s meaning or impact.
1 Minimal or extremely problematic link to objectification.
0 No discernable connection to objectification.
Definition of Objectification
5 Insightful overview of the definition of objectification as well as an outline of Berger���s argument. These ideas should also be explicitly applied to your
image. In addition, a 5 will also include a discussion of the implications and/or problems with the theory.
4 Solid discussion of both the definition of objectification and Berger���s argument in addition to an application of those ideas to the example.
3 Average review of objectification.
2 Short and/or incorrect discussion.
1 Minimal or extremely problematic description of objectification.
0 No discussion of the theory of objectification.
10 Expert level analysis with an insightful discussion of the organization or relationship between easily missed formal elements.
8 Strong analysis with a couple of insightful points.
6 Average description of formal elements.
4 Identification of objects with only a small discussion of formal elements.
2 Identification without formal analysis.
0 Minimal discussion of the visual aspects of the image.
Writing and Organization
5 Fluid, eloquent, and/or evocative language in a grammatically correct and well-organized essay.
4 A grammatically correct and well-organized essay.
3 Average writing with a minimal number of errors.
2 Needs a good proofread.
1 In need of major edits.
0 Significantly shorter than the page requirement and/or lacking original writing.