David gauntletts theories of media power vs audience
What’s the message?
How does the media influence you? LO: To explore David Gauntlett’s theory of audience vs media power and apply to Andrea Arnold’s films
David Gauntlett’s theories ofmedia power vs audience power Gender & Identity theory Who do you think has more power in the construction of someone’s identity – the audience or the media?
Audiences are active• Popular media has a significant relationship with peoples sense of gender and identity. Media messages are diverse and contradictory. Rather than being zapped straight into peoples brains, ideas about lifestyle and identity that appear in the media are resources which individuals use to think through their sense of self and modes of expression. Different aspects of popular media can aid or disturb these processes of contemporary reorientation. Some critics say that the media should offer traditional role models and reassuring certainties, but this view is unlikely to survive. Radical uncertainties and exciting contradictions are what contemporary media, like modern life, is all about. Do you agree with this?
Media power vs Audience power• The power relationship between media and the audience involves a bit of both, or to be more precise, a lot of both. The media disseminates a huge number of messages about identity and acceptable forms of self-expression, gender, sexuality, and lifestyle. At the same time, the public have their own even more robust set of diverse feelings on these issues. The medias suggestions may be seductive, but can never simply overpower contrary feelings in the audience. Neither the media nor the audience are powerful in themselves, but both have powerful arguments. What constructions/messages in WASP could affect the audience’s identity? What do the characters do that might make us think about our own behaviour, appearance, lifestyle?
Fluidity of identity and the decline of tradition• Today the mass media is a force for change. The traditional view of a woman as a housewife or low-status worker has been kick-boxed out of the picture by the feisty, successful girl power icons. Meanwhile the masculine ideals of absolute toughness, stubborn self-reliance and emotional silence have been shaken by a new emphasis on mens emotions, need for advice, and the problems of masculinity. Although gender categories have not been shattered, these alternative ideas and images have at least created space for a greater diversity of identities.• Modern media has little time or respect for tradition. The whole idea of traditions comes to seem quite strange. Why would we want to do the same as previous generations? Whats so great about the past? Popular media fosters the desire to create new modes of life. Can you apply this to any of the films we’ve studied?
Can you apply this to anyof the films we’vestudied? Girl Power • One of the most obvious developments in recent pop culture has been the emergence of the icons and rhetoric of girl power, a phrase slapped into mainstream culture by the Spice Girls and subsequently incorporated into the language of government bodies as well as journalists, educationalists, culture critics, and pop fans themselves. Magazines for young women are emphatic in their determination that women must do their own thing, be themselves, and/or be as outrageously sassy and sexy as possible. Several recent movies have featured self-confident, tough, intelligent female lead characters . Female pop stars sing about financial and emotional independence, inner strength, and how they dont need a man; and the popular mantra of self- help books is that women can become just as powerful as these icons, if they cultivate their confidence and self-belief, and draw up a plan of self- development. This set of reasonably coherent messages from a range of sources - their clarity only disturbed by the idea that women can be extremely tough and independent whilst also maintaining perfect make- up and wearing impossible shoes - seems to have had some impact on the identities of young women , as well as being very successful within pop culture as an image/lifestyle idea.
Can you apply thisto any of the filmswe’ve studied? Masculinity in crisis • Contemporary masculinity is often said to be in crisis; as women become increasingly assertive and successful, apparently triumphing in all roles, men are said to be anxious and confused about what their role is today. Signs that men’s magazines were about men finding a place for themselves in the modern world. These lifestyle publications were perpetually concerned with how to treat women, have a good relationship, and live an enjoyable life. Rather than being a return to essentialism - i.e. the idea of a traditional real man, as biology and destiny intended‘ mens magazines have an almost obsessive relationship with the socially constructed nature of manhood.
Gauntlett’s theoryTheory FOR AGAINSTDecline in Tradition Independent teenager – fends Fish Tank – lower class, on for herself benefits, stay at home single Tamara Drewe – rises above the Mum bullies to be a success WASP – relies on Dave to feed them Tamara Drewe – Beth – stereotypical housewifeGirl Power FT – dresses like she wants WASP – provocative, Tomboy –strength conforming – attention TD – strong and independent seeking financially TD – nose job!!!!!!! WASP – not coping – man rescues herMasculinity in Crisis WASP – two women fighting – WASP – Dave looks after them man stands And watches TD – having the affair TD – affair made known – man is FT – abusing his role and left lost sexuality
HMK• On your blogs post a reflective paragraph on how Gauntlett’s 3 gender theories applied to the clip on ‘My Name is Joe’ and the representation of Britishness.• &• Watch RED ROAD