Representation Starter questions… • How have you represented gender in your music video? (give some analytical details, considering language and narrative) • Why did you represent gender in this way? (consider audience, genre and narrative)
Representation Question 1b: Representation Objective: explore the concept in depth and apply to my own work.
Representation Q1b: Representation • How are people represented work in your video? • How does your video construct a representation of gender, ethnicity or age? • You will need also to refer to some critics who have written about representation or theories of media representation and attempt to apply those (or argue with them!). • So who could you use? Mulvey, Dyer, E Ann Kaplan, Ferguson, Hall and Foucault to name a few.
Representation Representation • Every media form, from a home video to a glossy magazine, is a representation of someones concept of reality, codified into a series of signs and symbols which can be read (decoded) by an audience. • Media represents a form or reality.
Representation Research question: Gender 1. What is ‘the male gaze’? – Pick out one quote from Mulvey that sums up the theory. (remember when you refer to a theorists work you must state their name followed by the year of publication) – Who has argued against Mulvey and how? – Pick out at least one quote that you could use to play against Mulvey. (remember to get the name and year) You have 10 minutes to prepare.
Representation Assessment Criteria  How do you answer Explanation/analysis the question? [10 marks] • You need to state which project you are using and briefly describe it. Use of examples • You then need to analyse it [10 marks] (critical distance) using whichever concept appears in the question, making reference to relevant theory throughout. Use of terminology • Keep being specific in your use of [5 marks] examples from your project. Either apply the concept to your production or explain how the concept is not useful in relation to your product.
Representation Applying research • Return to the starter questions and re- assess in light of your research. • Write your response to the question as part of an exam style answer. • How have you represented gender in your music video? (give some analytical details, considering language and narrative) • Why did you represent gender in this way in your text? (consider audience, genre and narrative. Keep critical distance)
Representation Read and highlight key arguments for and against the ‘Male Gaze’ • Check understanding • Prepare for a representation ‘fact off’
Representation The Male Gaze (Mulvey 1992) Traditional films present men as controlling subjects and treat women as objects of desire for men in both the story and in the audience, and do not allow women to be desiring sexual subjects in their own right. Men do the looking; women are there to be looked at. It was Mulvey who coined the term the male gaze. ‘pleasure in looking has been split between active/male and passive/female’ (Mulvey 1992).
Representation Essentialism: What’s wrong with it? • A key objection underlying many critical responses has been that Mulveys argument in this paper was (or seemed to be) essentialist: that is, it tended to treat both spectatorship and maleness as homogeneous essences - as if there were only one kind of spectator (male) and one kind of masculinity (heterosexual).
Representation Arguments against essentialism and the male gaze • E Ann Kaplan (1983) asked ‘Is the gaze male?’. • Stacey asks: ‘Do women necessarily take up a feminine and men a masculine spectator position?’ (Stacey 1992, 245). • What about gay spectators? • Richard Dyer (1982) also challenged the idea that the male is never sexually objectified in mainstream cinema and argued that the male is not always the looker in control of the gaze.
Representation The male? gaze • Gender is not the only important factor in determining what Jane Gaines calls looking relations - race and class are also key factors • Michel Foucault, who linked knowledge with power, related the inspecting gaze to power rather than to gender in his discussion of surveillance (Foucault 1977).
Representation Task: Research other theorists who have written about representation. Present your research to the rest of the class. Include: – name – date – key quotes – explanation of their ideas Add all theorists to your mind map to prepare for writing your essay.
Representation Representation and Semiotics • Reality is always represented - what we treat as direct experience is mediated by perceptual codes. Representation always involves the construction of reality. • All texts, however realistic they may seem to be, are constructed representations rather than simply transparent reflections, recordings, transcriptions or reproductions of a pre-existing reality. • Representations which become familiar through constant re-use come to feel natural and unmediated.
Representation Postmodernism • In a postmodern era, a great deal of our perception of reality is mediated through the media so reality becomes a relative concept, judged in relation to other texts. • What level of reality do we expect in music videos? • How are music videos a postmodern form of media? • How is authenticity created? How important is this for your artist / label etc?
Representation Key questions • What is being represented? • How is it represented? Using what codes? Within what genre? • How is the representation made to seem true, commonsense or natural? • Whose representation is it? Whose interests does it reflect? How do you know? • At whom is this representation targeted? How do you know? • What does the representation mean to you? What does the representation mean to others? How do you account for the differences? • How do people make sense of it? According to what codes? • With what alternative representations could it be compared? How does it differ? • Why is the concept of representation problematic?
Representation Exam Question • Analyse media representation in one of your coursework productions. [25 marks]
Representation Identity • In relation to the cage of identity (the key markers of identity - Class, Age, Gender and Ethnicity) - representation involves not only how identities are represented (or rather constructed) within the text but also how they are constructed in the processes of production and reception by people whose identities are also differentially marked in relation to such demographic factors. • Consider, for instance, the issue of the gaze. How do men look at images of women, women at men, men at men and women at women?
Representation The ‘male gaze’ • The concept derives from a seminal article called ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema’ by Laura Mulvey, a feminist film theorist. It was published in 1975 and is one of the most widely cited and anthologized articles in the whole of contemporary film theory.
Representation • Mulvey argues that various features of cinema viewing conditions facilitate for the viewer both the voyeuristic process of objectification of female characters and also the narcissistic process of identification with an ‘ideal ego’ seen on the screen. She declares that in patriarchal society ‘pleasure in looking has been split between active/male and passive/female’ (Mulvey 1992, 27).
Representation Hollywood • This is reflected in the dominant forms of cinema. Conventional narrative films in the ‘classical’ Hollywood tradition not only typically focus on a male protagonist in the narrative but also assume a male spectator. Traditional films present men as active, controlling subjects and treat women as passive objects of desire for men in both the story and in the audience, and do not allow women to be desiring sexual subjects in their own right. Men do the looking; women are there to be looked at. It was Mulvey who coined the term the male gaze.
Representation Modes of looking • Mulvey distinguishes between two modes of looking for the film spectator: voyeuristic and fetishistic, which she presents in Freudian terms as responses to male ‘castration anxiety’. Voyeuristic looking involves a controlling gaze and Mulvey argues that this has has associations with sadism: ‘pleasure lies in ascertaining guilt - asserting control and subjecting the guilty person through punishment or forgiveness’ (Mulvey 1992, 29). Fetishistic looking, in contrast, involves ‘the substitution of a fetish object or turning the represented figure itself into a fetish so that it becomes reassuring rather than dangerous. This builds up the physical beauty of the object, transforming it into something satisfying in itself. The erotic instinct is focused on the look alone’. Fetishistic looking, she suggests, leads to overvaluation of the female image and to the cult of the female movie star. Mulvey argues that the film spectator oscillates between these two forms of looking (ibid.; see also Neale 1992, 283ff; Ellis 1982, 45ff; Macdonald 1995, 26ff; Lapsley & Westlake 1988, 77-9).