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What is Visual Rhetoric?

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In “Digital Rhetoric: Theory, Method, and Knowledge” by Douglas Eyman, he broadens up the term “visual rhetoric”. Eyman states how it is “…an example of a discrete set of methods and theories that are available to use within a digital rhetoric context” (pg 49). In a way, visual rhetoric is parallel to digital rhetoric. According to Helmer and Hill, they point out how people often misunderstand the what visual rhetoric actually is. They say that it is easy to associate visual rhetoric with everything that is “visual”. This can be images, TV shows, news broadcasts, etc.

Digital Vs. Visual

Both digital and visual rhetoric are both practices of a field of study. For example, Mary Hocks connects both ideas. Hocks states “…modern information technologies construct meaning as simultaneously verbal, visual, and interactive hybrids”. Then she follows along by saying “…digital rhetoric simply assumes the use of visual rhetoric as well as other modalities” (pg 50). One example of something that uses both would be web and software designs.

Visual Rhetoric in New Media

One quote that really stood out to me was “…in procedural media like video games, images are frequently constructed” (pg 51). Not only is this relevant to video games but also plays a major role in social media. Especially nowadays with photoshop and a ton of editor apps and practices, there are a multitude of ways to shape something into something else. For example, the famous Jenner family, mainly Kylie Jenner, they all have plastic surgeries to create an image that is pleasing for them, but also socially acceptable. Even with this modifications to their bodies, they still continue to edit their pictures to prove that they have the skinniest waist and the biggest butt. Not only does that affect them and their health, but it also could put many others in danger. This can make teens think that they have to look like them in order to fit the beauty standard.


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