Strauss was an anthropologist who
originated in France in the early
1900’s. He believed that the way we
understood certain words depends
not so much on any meaning they
themselves directly contain however
but by our understanding the different
of the word and it’s ‘opposite’.
He then produced the theory binary
A protagonist and
antagonist or Heroine
and villain are both
examples of binary
Binary opposites are very frequently
used in films, especially in the horror
genre, many of the films include
binary oppositions in their plots. The
understanding of the work ‘villain’
depends on the difference between
that word and the opposing word
Good and evil is the most common
binary opposite shown to the public
through the media field on different
platforms. Sane and insane, rational
and irrational and human and
supernatural are also common binary
opposites known to the public.
Binary Opposites are usually the basis of our
understanding of a story as it is a conventional
narrative and enables an equilibrium.
Binary opposites are used in films to help plots, they
are also used in music videos as part of a narrative
to reinforce song lyrics.
Levi Strauss’ theory links heavily with our ideological
values of how we feel we should ‘perceive’ the world.
E.g. what is an ideological view of a mother?
In the media industry binary
opposites was an expected and
easy element to spot when
watching something such as a
film. With deeper meanings and
better technology with stronger
plots this is now harder to find
straight away. The Twilight Saga
was a recent example with a
slowly revealing werewolves vs
vampires plot. This was difficult to
spot in the first film but is still
continuously apparent throughout
the whole series.
Reality shows have been
introduced since the 2000’s that
realistically would be seen as a
harsh thing to do but it bring
those binary opposites together
to see a different type of
lifestyle. Beauty and the Geek
shows female beauties the
intelligence needed to perform
tasks each week which consists
of studying and revising with a
partnered geek. This is a male
who with the women’s help will
challenges, studying also but
on the subject the girls know
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