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Colour, gender and 'Gone with the Wind'

conference contribution
posted on 2017-12-06, 00:00 authored by Karin StokesKarin Stokes
The manipulation of symbols is a feature of human social life, yet little attention has been paid to the non-discursive symbolisms apparent in everyday experience. Symbolism aids in the hegemonisation of social life by facilitating representation of idealised men and women. Non-discursive symbols, affecting emotions, can be demonstrated to have the same gender messages as the more commonly critiqued symbols such as icons and language. In this paper, the non-discursive symbolism of colour use is examined for the 1929 classic film ‘Gone with the Wind’. The heroine – Scarlet O’Hara – is seen in several coloured costumes that associate with specific gender performances, and each demonstrates a different view of the unhappiness resulting from her usurpation of ‘men’s roles’. In this, the colours of Scarlet’s costumes serve as a non-discursive object lesson for women that lies outside the traditional critiques of such Hollywood offerings.


Category 1 - Australian Competitive Grants (this includes ARC, NHMRC)


Parent Title

Proceedings of TASA & SAANZ Joint Conference 2007: Public sociologies: lessons and trans-Tasman comparisons, Auckland, New Zealand, 4-7 December, 2007.

Start Page


End Page


Number of Pages


Start Date



Auckland, NZ


University of Auckland

Place of Publication

Auckland, NZ

Peer Reviewed


Open Access


External Author Affiliations

Centre for Social Science Research; Conference; Conference;

Era Eligible


Name of Conference

Australian Sociological Association. Conference;Sociological Association of Australia and New Zealand. Conference