More than 30% of advertising still portrays women as slim, blonde and under the age of 30; Over half of the men featured in adverts are over 30; Male actors in adverts are nearly always dark-haired; females are typically blonde; Only 11% of men featured in adverts are slim and muscular; Women are rarely shown in the driving seat when men and women travel together.
The media do not present reality; they 're-present' it. The media present a selection of reality. In the case of TV Drama, the scriptwriter, camera operator, the editor and the producer all make selections and changes before the drama is broadcast. Magazines and newspapers go through a similar process of selection involving the journalist, the picture editor, sub-editor and the editor. This process of selection is called MEDIATION. These manufactured versions of reality are based on the values of the producers and, in turn, the values of the larger society and culture.
A media representation is a depiction, a likeness or a constructed image of something in real life. A representation can be of: individual people (Barrack Obama, Katie Price, David Beckham); social groups (age groups, gender, racial groups); ideas (law and order, unemployment); events ( the Olympics, The World Cup)
A representation can be a single image, a sequence of images or a whole programme or film; A representation can take the form of written words, spoken words or song lyrics.
Representations invite audiences to understand them and agree with them in certain preferred ways. However as we saw with Stuart Hall's encoding/decoding model the audience do not have to agree with the preferred meaning of the representation. A representation is composed of repeated elements - the more we see these elements repeated, the more representation will appear natural or 'normal'. We are invited to either identify with or recognise the representation - in TV Drama we are positioned to identify with lead characters - this is through their dialogue and repeated use of the close-up.
The media make categories of people, events or ideas - categories include labels such as 'the unemployed', 'asylum seekers' or 'chavs'. Representations contain a point of view - all representations contain the point of view of the people who made them; the IDEOLOGY of the producer affects the representation. Representations have a mode of address - hidden behind the apparent naturalness of the representation will be some assumptions about who you are. This is the mode of address the producer takes; does the producer assume you will share their values? Adapted from: Media & Meaning: An Introduction Stewart, Lavelle & Kowaltzke
>Noam Chomsky says 'the media serve the interests of state and corporate power, which are closely linter linked, framing their reporting and analysis in a manner supportive of established privilege and limiting debate accordingly' >To get a deeper understanding of the ways representation functions ask the following questions about media texts: > Who made it? >When was it made? > Where was it made? >What are its social/political/cultural origins? >What are its purposes? >Who benefits from the representation or whose point of view does it support?