Cinderella and the Mythology of Beauty

Nov 11 2013 Published by neilgains under storytelling

“Nothing makes a woman more beautiful than the belief that she is beautiful.” – Sophia Loren

Cinderella is probably the best-liked and best-known fairy tale in the world. The story has origins at least as far back as the ninth century in China (where a tiny foot size was a mark of distinction and beauty) and is common across Asia – Bawang Merah, Bawang Putih (literally, “red onion, white onion”) is a version from South East Asia where I currently live. What can modern beauty brands learn from the origins and development of the Cinderella story? Read more »

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The Structure of Meaning (Introduction to Semiotics Part 4)

May 29 2012 Published by neilgains under semiotics

Signs of structure

Signs and meanings may be arbitrary in the sense that there is no direct connection between the signifier (the sign) and the signified (the underlying meaning), but they are rarely arbitrary in the way that they relate to other signs and meanings as Claude Levi-Strauss argued. Just thinking of energy drinks (see last article), there are clear and important (structural) connections between the colours, shapes, materials and words used in the category and the meanings they signify (energy, potency, stamina, power, etc). They do not just stand in isolation. Read more »

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Seize the fire!

Jul 06 2010 Published by admin under storytelling

“Didn’t I seize the fire of ideas and make them leap, tear, fly, sing”  - Tom Paulin

“A poet’s work is to name the unnameable, to point out frauds, to take sides; start arguments, shape the world and stop it from going to sleep.”  - Salman Rushdie

I would like to propose Prometheus as the patron saint of insight. Prometheus has the perfect credentials, associated throughout history with creative thinking and courage, his destiny bound by his empathy with the human race, and with a name which literally means ‘forethought’ (he could see into the future).

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