Mass communication & media literacy 07
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  • 1. Mass Communication & Media Literacy 07
  • 2. The cultural construction of categories Race Gender Religion Sexuality Nation etc.
  • 3. Gender The cultural nature of the differences between the natural biological sexes of male and female  If gender and sex are considered indistinguishable means to rely on a claim that our social beings are determined by our ‘essential’ or ‘necessary’ natures  Butler: gender is performed (not innate or fixed) through a ‘stylised repetition of acts’  What are examples of such acts?
  • 4. Too Many Good Female Performances? Nicole Kidman – Rabbit Hole Natalie Portman – Black Swan Annette Bening – The Kids Are All Right Jennifer Lawrence – Winter’s Bone Julianne Moore – The Kids Are All Right Sally Hawkins – Made in Dagenham Anne Hathaway – Love and Other Drugs Lesley Manville – Another Year (who I saw this weekend on Law & Order UK) Gwyneth Paltrow – Country Strong Naomi Watts -Fair Game Michelle Williams – Blue Valentine
  • 5. Sexuality Not a thing of ‘biology’ but understood as socially and culturally constituted Heterosexuality is a ‘normative’ category – taken for granted and against/outside of which all other categories circulate Heteronormativity - the practices that legitimise and priviledge heterosexuality and heterosexual relationships as fundamental and natural Homosexuality refers to same-sex preferences, male or female, though the term tends to be applied to men with lesbian referring to women
  • 6. Homosexuality in the UK Have the range of representations expanded and/or altered over time? Are there any continuities – have representations and the values they evince stayed the same? Have representational changes paralleled the legal and cultural changes and challenges of the recent past? Have we moved from deviant to inclusion?
  • 7. 70s-80s-00s
  • 8. Stonewall: Tuned Out - 2005 How does the BBC portray gay people’s lives? Does television have a positive or negative impact on gay people’s lives? What impact does the portrayal of lesbians and gay men have on heterosexual people? Does the BBC challenge homophobia, or does it reinforce it? Do lesbian and gay licence-fee payers get value for money?
  • 9. Stonewall: Tuned Out - 2005  Gay people and their lives are fi ve times more likely to be described or portrayed in negative terms than in positive ones on the BBC. Gay lives were positively and realistically represented for just six minutes and depicted in negative terms or contexts for 32 minutes out of 168 hours of programming.  During 168 hours of programmes there were 38 minutes of gay references, both positive and negative. This represented 0.4 per cent of broadcast time in 49 separate instances and included openly gay characters or personalities, direct and indirect references to gay people and gay sexuality, use of gay stereotypes and innuendo.  Gay life is disproportionately over-represented in entertainment programmes, including game shows, chat shows and comedy. The majority, 72 per cent, of individual references to gay sexuality were made during entertainment programmes, despite entertainment comprising just 14 per cent, of all programmes monitored.  Lesbians hardly exist on the BBC. Where gender was specifi ed during a reference to gay sexuality, 82 per cent were about gay men.  Lesbian and gay issues are rarely tackled or even mentioned in factual programmes. These programmes, including consumer shows and documentaries, made up over half, 54 per cent, of all programmes monitored, yet only three per cent of all individual gay references appeared within this genre.
  • 10. The politics of representation – the industry Greg Dyke – former Director General of the BBC - in a speech on Diversity in Broadcasting But this morning I want to talk mainly about the third audience group we under-serve. Ethnic minorities in the United Kingdom disproportionately don’t use our services. Our research shows they don’t think we’re for them. So why does that matter? Statistics alone are never enough of course, but taken together they can tell a pretty compelling picture: *Currently, nearly 7% of the UK population belong to an ethnic minority, however many expect the figure in the new census to be closer to 10%. *More importantly 30% of these are under the age of 16. *More importantly still the Commission for Racial Equality estimates that, in 10 years time, 40% of all under 25s in key urban areas will be from an ethnic minority. In London the figure is expected to be higher still. Im keen to talk about these issues here today because many British citizens from minority ethnic backgrounds have their roots in Commonwealth countries. The growing multi-cultural nature of 21st century Britain is a fundamental challenge for the BBC, which has implications for everything we do: *how we are organised - for example who we employ *the services we choose to operate *the content we run on those channels, networks and on-line sites
  • 11. UK Radio Advertising Standards 13 Racial Discrimination a) It is illegal (with a few exceptions) for an advertisement to discriminate on grounds of race; b) Advertisements must not include any material which might reasonably be construed by ethnic minorities to be hurtful or tasteless. The Race Relations Act 1976 (as amended) makes it unlawful to broadcast an advertisement which indicates or implies racial discrimination. There are a few exceptions, full details of which can be obtained from the Commission for Racial Equality on 020 7939 0000; website: