expository writing





The relationship between language and image provides us with the means to seek the roots of our own ideas. In the essay, "When We Dead Awaken: Writing as Re-Vision", written by Adrienne Rich, she uses varying images in her poetry to describe women and the voice open the window into her self-perception and how cultural ideologies change. John Berger writes in, "Ways of Seeing" that the relationship between the image and the person is an individual interpretation. "Hunger as Ideology," by Susan Bordo, tells how the image is used to show cultural ideologies, especially for women. In art, literature, and in the media, images that are perceived visually or through the images produced by language are used as a form of expression that quite unavoidably reflect cultural ideologies that impact us in intentionally strong and deliberate ways. Cultural ideology affects how we perceive images; both visual and those produced by language. These images impact our perception of reality.
The images that infiltrate our lives appear to focus on maintaining the status quo or the norms of society. They are designed to show what is expected in life. Berger states, "Images were made to conjure up the appearance of something that was absent"(107). Berger argues "images" are "conjured up" or imagined to represent what is "absent" or what the individual wants to see as reality. There used to be a tendency to over exemplify the way in which women were thought to be, but "today, that opposition no longer seems to hold quite as rigidly as it once did (women are indeed objectified more than ever, but, in this image-dominated culture, men increasingly are too)" (156). Regardless of society\'s attempt to be politically correct, and despite the changes that have occurred in rigid gender identity, our society still maintains many of the old stereotypes that have always been a part of established culture. In order to assist in the destabilizing of images Rich states, "A change in the concept of sexual identity is essential if we are not going to see the old political order reassert itself in every new revolution" (605). Rich believes a "change" in the "concept" or the way people are viewed is "essential" if the past is not going to "reassert itself" in the future. The "images" imagined is the "change" needed to be taken in the future. However, the images that surround us seem to do nothing more than maintain and sustain the traditional gender ideology.
Although Rich tried to have Aunt Jennifer in "Aunt Jennifer\'s Tiger," be a person as distinct from herself as possible, she portrays Aunt Jennifer as being oppressed by her marriage. Rich reflects the same oppression through the use of images such as, "The massive weight of the Uncle\'s wedding band" (608). The "massive" or extreme burden caused by the "wedding band" or the marriage to suppresser. She is being oppressed by her husband. The image of Aunt Jennifer portrays the traditional ideology of the women under the control of a man. Bordo discusses the ideological construction of service as a woman\'s natural role, states, "It is this construction that it reinforces in the representations I have been examining, through their failure to depict males as \'naturally\' fulfilling that role, and - more perniciously - through their failure to depict females as appropriate recipients of such care" (161). Women have an ideal role of subordination to men, and men have the oppressive role to be in charge and to provide for the female, though how ideal that role may be is questionable. Bordo means Rich\'s poetry depicts the current role of women in society and strives to express the need to fight the oppression and victimization of women. Her poetry creates a strong image of the position of women in society. Berger claims that, "Every image embodies a way of seeing" (107). Because of our own personal history, we may or may not recognize the image of Jennifer as negative. It is possible to look at Jennifer as living in a way that is the accepted function in our culture. This is an image, however negative that it may be, that is culturally accepted as how gender roles should be and therefore reinforces its stabilization.
Berger considers that "The way