V FOR VICTORY
With the palm facing forward this gesture is seen as positive and meaning victory. It was popularised by Winston Churchill and other Allied leaders during WWII. During the 1960’s and early 1970’s it became a symbolic gesture of the “alternative” and “anti war” hippie movement and became to mean “peace”. It probably assumed this context because the anti Vietnam war movement believed that peace would be victorious. It was very common to make the gesture and say “peace” at the same time. As time passes and the 1960’s are less relevant to people it is assuming its original meaning again.
Things to be noted …
There has been much written about common hand gestures – a fair amount of it contradictory and some it is just plain nonsense. With this in mind, there are several important considerations that should be noted.
It’s worth noting that many other people before Darwin appreciated the importance of facial expressions and their link to human emotions.
“Beauty without expression is boring.”
This was proposed by Ralph Waldo Emerson an American Poet, Lecturer and Essayist who lived between 1803-1882.
“Sweet babe, in thy face soft desires I can trace, secret joys and secret smiles, little pretty infant wiles” (From the poem Sleep! Sleep! Beauty Bright) This was written by William Blake an English visionary, Mystic, Poet, Painter and Engraver who lived between 1757-1827. He clearly understood the importance of facial expressions.
What is important is that it is very easy for hand signals to be misinterpreted even amongst close friends. However, as television and the internet spreads common programming amongst different cultures so increasingly diverse groups of people will recognise the meaning and the context of at least the more common hand gestures. Not all dictionaries agree on the precise meanings of words and not all experts agree on the precise meanings of hand gestures. This section attempts to provide a basic consensus but should not be seen as the absolute and final word on the subject – It is a guide and no more.