The semiotics of the face in digital dating: A research direction

  • Massimo Leone
Keywords: Face, Semiotics, Seductive discourse, Primates, Digital dating

Abstract

The article investigates the socio-cultural meaning of the face in relation to its natural and biological features, focusing on the particular domain ofmating habits. After surveying the role of the ‘face’ in the sexual behaviors of several non-human animals, and especially of primates, the article ponders on the crucial role that the face plays in the seductive discourse which precedes and accompany mating in all human cultures and also in many primates’ behaviors. It, then, deals with the transformation that these seductive patterns of signification and communication undergo in the passage from face-to-face intercourse to digital dating. Here, the gap between the necessarily realistic representation of one’s bodily face and the idealized version of it allowed by digital picture editing widens, to the point that new epistemic parameters start to circulate throughout the digital semiosphere.

References

Ayalon, Liat and Ateret Gewirtz-Meydan. 2017. "Senior, Mature or Single: A Qualitative Analysis of Homepage Advertisements of Dating Sites for Older Adults", 876. Computers in Human Behavior, 75 (October) (Elsevier). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2017.06.033

Blacka, Erik, Kelsey Mezzinab, and Lindsay Thompsona. 2016. "Anon-ymous Social Media: Understanding the Content and Context of Yik Yak", 17-22. Computers in Human Behavior,57 (April 1) (Elsevier). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2015.11.043

Danesi, Marcel. 2016. The Semiotics of Emoji: The Rise of Visual Lan-guage in the Age of the Internet. New York, NY: Bloomsbury Academic [Bloomsbury Advances in Semiotics].

Dixson, Alan F. 2012. Primate Sexuality: Comparative Studies of the Prosimians, Monkeys, Apes and Human Beings. Oxford, UK: Oxford Uni-versity Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199544646.001.0001

Duguay, Stefanie. 2017. "Dressing up Tinderella: Interrogating Au-thenticity Claims on the Mobile Dating App Tinder", 351-67. Information, Communication & Society, 20, 3 (March) (Taylor & Francis). https://doi.org/10.1080/1369118X.2016.1168471

Ellison, Kirsten L. 2014. "Age Transcended: A Semiotic and Rhetorical Analysis of the Discourse of Agelessness in North American Anti-Aging Skin Care Advertisements", 20-31. Journal of Aging Studies, 29 (April) (Elsevier). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaging.2013.12.003

Glazer, Trip. 2017. "The Semiotics of Emotional Expression", 189-215. Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society, 53, 2 (Spring) (Indiana Uni-versity Press). https://doi.org/10.2979/trancharpeirsoc.53.2.02

Graziano, Michael. 2009. The Intelligent Movement Machine: An Eth-ological Perspective on the Primate Motor System. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Birdwhistell, Ray L. 1971. "Kinesics: Inter- and Intra-Channel Com-munication Research", 527-48. In Kristeva, Julia, Josette Rey-Debove, and Donna Jean Umiker, eds. 1971. Essays in Semiotics / Essays de sémiotique. Paris and The Hague: Mouton De Gruyter.

Branco, Patricia, Massimo Leone, and Richard Mohr. 2018. Tools of Meaning: Representation, Objects, and Agency in the Technologies of Law and Religion, ["I saggi di Lexia" 29]. Rome: Aracne.

Johnson, Kristine, Marilena O. Vilceanu, and Manuel Pontes. 2017. "Use of Online Dating Websites and Dating Apps: Findings and Implications for LGB Populations", 60-66. Journal of Marketing Development and Competitiveness, 11, 3 (October). (North American Business Press).

Kushlev, Kostadin, et al. 2019. "Smartphones Reduce Smiles between Strangers", 12-16. Computers in Human Behavior, February, 91 (Elsevier). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2018.09.023

Leone, Massimo. 2016. "Nature and Culture in Visual Communication: Japanese Variations on Ludus Naturae", 213-245. Semiotica, 213. https://doi.org/10.1515/sem-2015-0145

Leone, Massimo. 2017. "Socio-sémiotique des « livres à visages »", on-line. In Eric Landowski, ed. 2017. Sémiotique et engagement. Monographic issue of Nouveaux Actes Sémiotiques (Journal of the French Association for Semiotic Studies), 120; available at http://epublications.unilim.fr/re-vues/as/5816 (last accessed 4 October 2018).

Mathé, Anthony. 2010. "Sémiotique des apparences corporelles. Textes, images et pratiques de mode et de beauté dans la société française (2004-2008)". PhD Dissertation, Centre de Recherches Sémiotiques (CeReS), University of Limoges, France

Morris, Desmond. 1962. The Biology of Art: A Study of the Picture-Mak-ing Behaviour of the Great Apes and its Relationship to Human Art. New York, NY: Knopf.

Ogilvie, Madeleine. 2005. The Semiotics of Visible Face Make-Up: The Masks Women Wear. PhD Dissertation, School Of Marketing, Tourism And Leisure. Edith Cowan University, Australia.

Petitot, Marie. 2015. "La mode des mouches, attributs de la féminité", online. In Plume d'histoire, 20 September. Available at http://plume-dhis-toire.fr/mode-mouches-attributs-feminite/ (last accessed 5 October 2018).

Quiquempois, Olivier, ed. 2014. Corps paré, corps transformé : la peau comme support d'expression = Made Up Bodies, Transformed Bodies: Skin as Surface of Expression. Cinisello Balsamo, Milan: Silvana.

Sotoudeh, Ramina, Roger Friedland, and Janet Afary. 2017. "Digital Ro-mance: The Sources of Online Love in the Muslim World", 429-39. Media, Culture & Society, 39, 3 (April) (SAGE Journals). https://doi.org/10.1177/0163443717691226

Stevenson, Ian. 1997. Reincarnation and Biology: A Contribution to the Etiology of Birthmarks and Birth Defects, 2 vols. Westport, CN: Praeger.

Stewart, Susan (Susan Margaret). 2017. Painted Faces: A Colourful History of Cosmetics. Stroud, Gloucestershire : Amberley Publishing.

Tang, Denise Tse-Shang. 2017. "All I Get is an Emoji: Dating on Lesbi-an Mobile Phone App Butterfly", 816-32. Media, Culture & Society, 39, 6 (September) (SAGE Journals). https://doi.org/10.1177/0163443717693680

Toma, Catalina L. 2017. "Developing Online Deception Literacy While Looking for Love", 423-8. Media, Culture & Society, 39, 3 (April) (SAGE Journals). https://doi.org/10.1177/0163443716681660

Trumble, Angus. 2004. A Brief History of the Smile. New York, NY: Ba-sicBooks.

Van Leeuwen, Edwin J.C., Katherine A. Cronin, and Daniel B. M. Haun. 2014. "A Group-Specific Arbitrary Tradition in Chimpanzees (Pan Troglo-dytes)", 1421-5. Animal Cognition, 17, 6 (November). (Springer). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10071-014-0766-8

Van Ouytsel, Joris et al. 2017. "Sexting: Adolescents' Perceptions of the Applications Used for, Motives for, and Consequences of Sexting", 446-70. Journal of Youth Studies, 20, 4 (May) (Taylor & Francis).

Vasey, George. 1877. The Philosophy of Laughter and Smiling. 2nd ed., enl. and improved. London: J. Burns. https://doi.org/10.1037/12373-000

Xue, Minhui et al. 2017. "Characterizing User Behaviors in Loca-tion-Based Find-and-Flirt Services: Anonymity and Demographics: A We-Chat Case Study", 357-67. Peer-to-Peer Networking and Applications, 10, 2 (March) (Springer). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12083-016-0444-5

Wang, Li and Pertti Alasuutari. 2017. "Co-Construction of the Tourist Experience in Social Networking Sites: Two Forms of Authenticity Inter-twined", 388-405. Tourist Studies, 17, 4 (December) (SAGE Journals). https://doi.org/10.1177/1468797616687559

Ward, Janelle. 2017. "What are you Doing on Tinder? Impression Man-agement on a Matchmaking Mobile App", 1644-59. Information, Commu-nication & Society, 20, 11 (November) (Taylor & Francis). https://doi.org/10.1080/1369118X.2016.1252412

Wende, Waltraud (aka "Wara"), ed. 2008. Wie die Welt lacht: Lachkul-turen im Vergleich. Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann.

Published
2019-11-06
How to Cite
Leone, M. (2019). The semiotics of the face in digital dating: A research direction. Digital Age in Semiotics & Communication, 2, 18-40. https://doi.org/10.33919/dasc.19.2.2