Hidden in Plain Sight: Subliminal Messages


Brynn Cook, Sophomore Staff Writer

Can something be hidden in plain sight? Of course, many things can, but something that is hidden, yet still registers with viewers everywhere are subliminal messages. Subliminal messages are found in different forms every day. They can be found in music, commercials, brand logos, Disney movies, and more. Usually they’re easy to catch, but sometimes one has to look a little harder. Subliminal messages and images promote some definite controversy. One online source states that some people believe these messages control minds without someone even knowing; others believe they don’t exist at all. When asked her opinion on subliminal messages, Lexy Diamond, a senior, states: “I think there are different levels of subliminal messages and not all of them mean something.” However, other people like Senior Joelle Chaney have a different opinion. “I think it’s a bunch of hocus pocus,” Joelle states.

Let’s consider some: Although there is no clear cut evidence which support this, The Wizard of Oz is said to have many subliminal messages within it. One popular subliminal message in the movie is that some of the characters represent different types of Americans who were struggling in America at the turn of the 19th century. An online source believes the scarecrow symbolizes Midwestern farmers and their struggles while the Tin Man represents mistreated factory workers. It’s also believed that The Wizard of Oz was a declaration of feminism, female empowerment, and independence.

The witches too carry subliminal messages or symbolism in this film and the original tale. Sources state: “The Wicked Witch of the East represents the industrial and banking interests of the East Coast of the United States… Similarly, the Wicked Witch of the West represents the moneyed interests of the West Coast, including railroad owners and wealthy oilmen. Enslaving the Winkies, a thinly-disguised metaphor for Asian economic migrants in the American West, she is dissolved by water in an allusion to monetary liquidity.” Who would’ve thought?

For more info on hidden messages in this classic, see the YouTube video below.


Singer/songwriter Taylor Swift uses a lot of subliminal messages in her music videos. In her video for the song “ME!”, there is a snake that bursts into butterflies. “…we all assumed that it symbolized her personal transformation” an online source stated. In the music video for “Look What You Made Me Do,” Taylor can be seen sitting in a bathtub full of diamonds and jewels. If one looks closely, he or she can find a dollar bill sitting in the tub. It is believed that this dollar represents the one dollar she won in court against a man who groped her. Swift’s lawyer explains the messaging: “The dollar is meant to help people understand that ‘you can say no when someone puts their hand on you. Grabbing a woman’s rear end is an assault, and it’s always wrong. Any woman—rich, poor, famous, or not—is entitled to have that not happen.’ ”

These are just a few examples of common hidden messages in both film and song, but there are so many more in many different forms. Some songs played backward have hidden messages within the words; some brands have symbols within the logos, and some commercials have them too. Hailey Zanolli, a freshman, states, “Finding them is like finding an Easter egg, and it takes a lot of skills to find them.” Malaree Harper, another freshman, said, “I think they’re cool.” So if you’re up for a challenge, start paying better attention to shows, movies, commercials and advertisements everywhere. Who knows what you might find?

Source: https://historycollection.co/16-hidden-symbolic-messages-in-the-wizard-of-oz-you-may-have-missed/5/