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Representation 1

  1. Representation
  2. However realistic or compelling some media texts seem they never present the world direct. They are always a construction – or re-presentation – rather than a mirror.
  3. The important thing to remember is that things can be presented in a number of different ways
  4. Cute Bunny
  5. Psycho Bunny
  6. Sexy
  7. Evil Bunny
  8. Gangster Bunny
  9. The concept being represented changes depending on who is creating the text.
  10. Any representation is a mixture of: • 1 The thing itself. • 2 The opinions of the people doing the representation • 3 The reaction of the individual to the representation • 4 The context of the society in which the representation is taking place.
  11. Representation By definition, all media texts are re- presentations of reality.
  12. This means that they are Representation intentionally composed, lit, written, framed, cropped, captioned, branded, targeted and censored by their producers, and that they are entirely artificial versions of the reality we perceive around us.
  13. 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, codified into a series of signs and symbols which can be read by an audience.
  14. Representation – is very political • Media representations - and the extent to which we accept them - are a very political issue, as the influence the media exerts has a major impact on the way we view the world. By viewing media representations our prejudices can be reinforced or shattered.
  15. What is the study of representation? The study of representation is about decoding the different layers of truth/fiction/whatever. In order to fully appreciate the part representation plays in a media text you must consider:
  16. Who produced it?
  17. What is represented in the text?
  18. How is that thing represented?
  19. Why was this particular representation (this shot, framed from this angle, this story phrased in these terms, etc.) selected, and what might the alternatives have been?
  20. Analysing Representation The analysis of different sorts of representation forms an important part of Media Studies. The factors of representation most commonly addressed are • Gender • Race • Socio-economic status • Disability
  21. Gender
  22. Gender • Gender is perhaps the basic category we use for sorting human beings, and it is a key issue when discussing representation. • Essential elements of our own identity, and the identities we assume other people to have, come from concepts of gender - what does it mean to be a boy or a girl?
  23. Gender 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.
  24. What are typically masculine characteristics? •Tough •Hard •sweaty
  25. Gender What are typically feminine characteristics? • Fragile • Soft • fragrant
  26. Gendering Objects How might the following objects be 'gendered' through advertising, given that both sexes will use the product? •A sports car •Bottled beer
  27. Representations of femininity Representations of women across all media tend to highlight the following: • beauty (within narrow conventions) • size/physique (again, within narrow conventions) • sexuality (as expressed by the above) • emotional (as opposed to intellectual) dealings • relationships (as opposed to independence/freedom)
  28. 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 or object, passive rather than active.
  29. Representations of femininity The representations of women that do make it onto page and screen do tend to be stereotypical, in terms of conforming to societal expectations.
  30. Female characters who do not fit into the mould tend to be seen as dangerous and deviant.
  31. Representations of Masculinity • 'Masculinity' is a concept that is made up of more rigid stereotypes than femininity. Representations of men across all media tend to focus on the following:
  32. Strength
  33. Power
  34. Physique
  35. Sexual attractiveness
  36. Representations of Masculinity Male characters are often represented as isolated, as not needing to rely on others (the lone hero). If they capitulate 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
  37. Increasingly, men are finding it as difficult to live up to their media representations as women are to theirs. This is partly because of the increased media focus on masculinity - think of the burgeoning market in men's magazines, both lifestyle and health.
  38. Race
  39. Race Representation of race in the media can consist of the same sort of rigid stereotypes that constitute gender portrayal. However, stereotyping of race is seen as more harmful than stereotyping of gender, as media representation may constitute the only experience of contact with a particular ethnic group that an audience (particularly an audience of children) may have.
  40. • Racial stereotypes are often based on social myth, perpetuated down Race the ages. Thus, the media depiction of, say, Native American Indians, might provide a child with their only experience of Native American Indian culture and characters, and may provide that child with a set of narrow prejudices which will not be challenged elsewhere within their experience.
  41. • The need for a more accurate portrayal of the diversity of different races is a priority for political agendas, but, as ever, it seems as though it will take a while for political thinking to filter through to programme and film-making.
  42. Race • In recent years, the success of actors such as Denzel Washington, Whoopi Goldberg, Laurence Fishburne and Morgan Freeman in a diversity of roles has meant that black characters in movies and on TV are no longer 'stock' types.
  43. Some of the time. However, there are many negative representations of black people, portrayals which seem deliberately designed to inflame the fear and hatred of other cultures - how positive a representation is the archetypal African- American gangsta? Yet these are representations coming from within black culture itself...
  44. Attention is now being paid to the representation of other ethnic groups - notably Asian Americans and Latinos.
  45. Age
  46. After gender and ethnicity, age is the most obvious category under which we file people, and there are a whole range of judgements which go along with our categorisation.
  47. We quickly deem other people too old, or too young.