- Representations are entirely constructed versions of reality.
- Representations shape our identities and form our desires by giving us images to identify with ,representations are made of signs and symbol
- When studying the media it is vital to remember this – every media form, from a home video to a glossy magazine, is a representation of someone’s concept of existence, encoded into a series of signs and symbols which can be read by an audience.
- Therefore, representation is a fluid, two-way process: producers position a text somewhere in relation to reality and audiences assess a text on its relationship to reality.
- However, because the producers of the media text have selected and constructed the information we receive, then our experience is restricted.
- By giving audiences information, media texts extend experience of reality.
Gender is one of the basic categories we use for sorting human beings, and it is a key issue when discussing representation (along with race, culture, age etc.).
Many objects, not just humans, are represented by the media as being particularly masculine or feminine – particularly in advertising – and we grow up with an awareness of what constitutes ‘appropriate’ characteristics for each gender
- Women are often represented as being part of a context (family, friends, colleagues) and working/thinking as part of a team.
- In drama, they tend to take the role of helper (Propp) or object, passive rather than active.
- Often their passivity extends to victim-hood.
- Men are still represented as TV drama characters up to 3 times more frequently than women, and tend to be the predominant focus of news stories.
- The representations of women that do make it onto page and screen do tend to be stereotypical, in terms of conforming to societal expectations, and characters who do not fit into the mould tend to be seen as dangerous and deviant.
Masculinity: If they revert to being part of a family, it is often part of the resolution of a narrative, rather than an integral factor in the initial equilibrium.
- It is interesting to note that the male physique is becoming more important a part of representations of masculinity.
Semiotics is the science of signs. It is concerned primarily with how meaning is generated in film, television, ads and other works of art, or in any language system, and how information is encoded in them.
Male gaze theory:
- men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at. This determines not only most relations between men and women but also the relation of women to themselves. The surveyor of woman in herself is male: the surveyed female.–JOHN BERGER
Action adventure film: