• Cover two media - How does it represent masculinity?
• Past and present/ contemporary (last 5 years)
• Identify key themes
• How is this text about the construction of identity?
• What does this text say about the construction of
• How does it deal with the construction of identity?
• How do audiences respond to these representations?
What are the effects of these representations?
1. How does your
contemporary media texts
represent masculinity in
2. How does contemporary
representation compare to
previous time periods?
3. What are the social
implications of different
media representations of
groups of people?
4. To what extent is identity
• What themes/ narratives/
discourses are constructed for
• What effect do these
representations have on the
audience? What effect do they
have on society?
• Is media increasingly important
in the way we understand our
own identity and the identity of
• How are groups of people
• How are these representations
• How do these representations
impact upon our sense of
• How do audiences use these
representations to create/
understand their identity?
There are two separate but related issues in this exam:
• Is identity something we construct or
something we discover?
• Is identity something we share with
• How do media texts impact on our sense
• Is identity fixed or does it change?
• Is identity something we are or something
Collective Identity Theorists
• Jacques Lacan
– The mirror stage
• Michel Maffesoli
– “The Time of Tribes”
• David Gauntlett
– “Identities are not
‘given’ but are
• Mikhail Bakhtin
– “the unfinalised self”
• Judith Butler
– Gender is what you
do, not what you are.
Collective Identity Theories
• What impact/ effects do media texts have
– Hypodermic Needle Theory
– Uses and Gratification Theory
– Active vs passive audiences
• Antonio Gramsci
– Hegemony/ shifting nature of dominant
Magazines and Gender Theorists
• Judith Butler
• David Gauntlett:
– "These [male] magazines are all about the social construction of
masculinity. That is, if you like, their subject-matter."
– Check Moodle also ‘Media, Gender and Identity’ David Gauntlett
– ‘Media, Culture and Society’ Paul Hodkinson
Useful things to do/ ways to revise
• Learn your texts
• Research your texts and find essays
• Read reviews/ analysis of your texts (Guardian/ BBC/
• Read reports about masculinity
• Learn a few quotes/ applicable ideas from relevant
• Ensure you can apply and comment on/ evaluate/
criticise the theories/ reports
• Ensure you can answer the four key questions on an
• Mikhail Bakhtin agreed individual people cannot be
finalised, completely understood, known, or labelled. He
saw identity as the ‘unfinalised self’, meaning a person is
never fully revealed or known. Many icons of the
postmodern age change and adapt their identity and
consequently can be seen in these terms: Marilyn
Manson’s manipulations of traditional binary oppositions
such as male/ female, beauty/ grotesque; Lady Gaga’s
manipulations of femininity; or Madonna’s consistent
reinventions of herself can all be seen as examples of
the ‘unfinalisable self.”
– From ‘Media Magazine’ April 2010
Media influence on collective
• The media must have some effect on
understanding of identity (Gauntlett).
• Media as ideological state apparatus
• Moral panics (Cohen).
• Cultivation theory (Gerbner).
Limited Media influence on
• Identity is complex (Gauntlett) – including
• Hall – audience response –
• Fiske – audience more powerful than
producers – no such thing as the
• The key to doing well in this question is to
develop an argument.
• Media texts tend to represent masculine identity
negatively. These representations reinforce
hegemonic values. Whilst the media has some
influence on our understanding of identity,
identities are complex and audience responses
will vary. Some contemporary representations
attempt to challenge dominant negative
• Introduction – carefully chosen quote introducing
argument, focus and texts.
• Historical representation
• Contemporary Negative representations
• Contemporary Positive representations
• Conclusion – sum up argument, prediction for
the future. How/why might representations
change/stay the same?
• Refer to at least two types of media.
• Refer to historical and future.
• Most of essay should be focused on
contemporary (since 2009)
• Link to theory throughout.
• Clear, balanced argument in relation to
effect of media representations/link
between media representations and
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