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Representation Theories
Lauren Murray
Male Gaze - Laura Mulvey
Talks about the representation of
male & female characters
Mulvey suggests that female
characters...
Hyppereality - Baudrillard
Representations no longer refer to
‘real’ things. The representation has
become more real to us...
Stereotypes legitimise inequality - Dyer
Stereotypes perform a number of
functions in media representations.
Dyer argues t...
Dominant Ideology - Hall
Stuart Hall – dominant, oppositional
and negotiated readings of
representation
 Hall was concern...
Hegenomy - Gramsci
A way of using representations to control
other people.
Hegemony aims to ensure the majority
support th...
Binary opposites & dominant/subordinate goups – Levi Strauss
Two contrasting characters or scenes
that are seen in one sho...
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Representation theories

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Representation theories

  1. 1. Representation Theories Lauren Murray
  2. 2. Male Gaze - Laura Mulvey Talks about the representation of male & female characters Mulvey suggests that female characters tend to be displayed for the visual pleasure of male characters and audience members. Females are coded as the ‘object’ of gaze within media texts and are represented in a sexual way. • Men = Look (active) • Women = Looked at (passive) Summary Mulveys theory suggests that female characters only appear on the television for male pleasure. They are coded as the ‘object’. Key points The women are portrayed as attractive and thin. If they do not have such traits they are not used for the male gazed, and are seen as unattractive. The men are of the active audience (dominant); whereas the females are passive. Example of how it applies to TV Drama Ex on the Beach – Only pretty, thin young girls appear on the programme.
  3. 3. Hyppereality - Baudrillard Representations no longer refer to ‘real’ things. The representation has become more real to us than reality, and has actually replaced it. This means that images are now ‘hyperreal’ in that they bare no relationship to the real E.g. An image of a pop star shows their celebrity image, not their reality This theory can also be applied to texts that claim to be real e.g. Documentaries, news Stereotypes can be used to enhance realism Summary Representations of things has become more real to use than reality. Images are now ‘hyperreal’ meaning they have no relation to the real world. Key Points Stereotypes can be used to enhance realism. Can be applied to texts that claim to be real. Example how it applies to TV Drama Amy Winehouse - She was perceived in the media as completely different to what she turned out to be like. TOWIE – This claims to be a documentary; however the show is scripted and therefore not real.
  4. 4. Stereotypes legitimise inequality - Dyer Stereotypes perform a number of functions in media representations. Dyer argues that the use of stereotypes in the media reinforces the idea that there are big differences between different types of people ‘How we are seen determines how we are treated. How we treat others is determined by how we see them. How we see them comes from representation’ This form of stereotyping, as Richard Dyer would argue is to legitimise (support) inequality Links to Hyperrealism: Most representations conform to some form of stereotype and are exaggerated or hyper real for entertainment values. Summary Representations in the media are formed by stereotypes presented. Dyer believes that the use of stereotypes in the media has reinforced the idea that there are big differences between different people. Key Points This form of serotyping is known as legitimise inequality, according to Richard Dyer. Links to hyperrealism.
  5. 5. Dominant Ideology - Hall Stuart Hall – dominant, oppositional and negotiated readings of representation  Hall was concerned with media power, including how it propagates social values.  He believes that the mass media are the ones that create and define the problems and issues of public concern and segregate society Dominant ideology - a set of beliefs that are widely accepted as being the most normal, or the most accurate. For example, the dominant ideology of men is that they are strong, brave and work to provide money for their families. Summary Concerned about the power that the media carries. He believes that the mass media cause the problems and issues of public concern and separating society. Key points Dominant Ideology = the beliefs that are said to be the most normal and accurate. For example, the dominant ideology of men is that they are strong, brave and provide money for their families. Also the dominant ideology of women is that they are the weaker sex, the damsel in distress and stays at home to look after the children.
  6. 6. Hegenomy - Gramsci A way of using representations to control other people. Hegemony aims to ensure the majority support the rule of the minority (even though the rule of that minority – the elite – is not in the interests of the majority). Represents all groups apart from the elite as unfit or unsuitable to hold and wield legitimate power. Represents the elite as the only group capable of ensuring social peace, prosperity, justice, etc. Any group portrayed as ‘outside the boundaries of normal society’ (i.e. as other) are being represented as fearful so that the majority will turn to the elite for protection. Consider; ‘hoodies’, paedophiles, criminals, ‘chavs’, foreigners, immigrants My notes There is a hierarchy which states that the majority (lower class) support the rule of the minority (upper class) as they have the control, power and money. Represents those who are not part of the elite group as unfit or unsuitable to hold power. The elite are the only capable group with ensure social peace, prosperity and justice ect.
  7. 7. Binary opposites & dominant/subordinate goups – Levi Strauss Two contrasting characters or scenes that are seen in one show, that are clearly meant to be total opposites. For example there may be a sweet innocent girl who is scared and weak, paired against an evil powerful man. They would be binary opposite characters. Binary opposites could be concepts such as good/evil, light/dark, male/female, old/young Representation of dominant/subordinate groups Summary Two complete opposite characters or scenes appear together in one show. Known as binary opposites. Key points EG: Good and evil, light and dark, male and female and old and young.

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