Learning outcomes. Aims/Objectives. You will be able to describe what representation is. Be able to identify the types of groups that are represented? You will be able to discuss representation in your products. Key media concept Representation recap:. 1. What is representation?
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Analyse how society sees these different ethnicities, this can also be linked to social class and status.
Black groups-stereotypes, criminals, drugs pushers, positive: good at sports and good singers
Asian groups:-work in corner shops, waiters, commit fraud. Positives: traditional, hardworking and family orientated.
Muslims: negatives, shown as extremist, violent, religious. Positives, pure, holy and trustworthy.
White group: Depends on social class, i.e. white working class can be seen as racist, again analyse the binary opposite.
First coined by Walter Lippmann (1956) the word stereotype wasn’t meant to be negative and was simply meant as a shortcut or ordering process.
Orrin E. Klapp's (1962) distinction between stereotypes and social types is helpful.
Richard Dyer (1977) suggests Klapp’s distinction can be reworked in terms of the types produced by different social groups according to their sense of who belongs and who doesn't, who is 'in' and who is not
Tessa Perkins (1979) says, however, that stereotyping is not a simple process. She identified that some of the many ways that stereotypes are assumed to operate aren’t true.
Perkins argues that if stereotypes were always so simple then they would not work culturally and over time.
Martin Barker (1989) - stereotypes are condemned for misrepresenting the ‘real world’. (e.g. Reinforcing that the (false) stereotype that women are available for sex at any time) . He also says stereotypes are condemned for being too close to real world (e.g. showing women in home servicing men, which many still do).
Dyer (1977) details that if we are to be told that we are going to see a film about an alcoholic then we will know that it will be a tale either of sordid decline or of inspiring redemption.
I want you to consider the following questions throughout this presentation, which we will discuss at the end:
1. In your own narrative, have you followed conventional Hollywood constructions of men and women or have you challenged these and how?
2. How have you shown men and women? If you have no men why not? Remember representation is also about not representing people.
“Men act and women appear”. “Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at”.
“Women are aware of being seen by a male spectator”
When analysing representation using feminism they say women are constructed using the following focus:
Beauty ( within narrow conventions)
Emotional (represents women as emotional rather than intellectual beings)
Relationships (women are represented around their relationships i.e. as being part of a context i.e. family, friends, rather than independent beings, think Sex and the City Carrie and her friends, in contrast Mr Big is alone and independent.
Men in narratives can also be shown to be represented as isolated or the lone hero i.e.the characters Matt Damon played in Bourne or or Liam Neeson in Taken or James Bond.
Women in contrast are judged on their relationships with others i.e. the helper role, or the princess. This is more likely in the genre of action films, where the lead characters are nearly always men.
How many action films can you think of where women are the centre character? Does this mean genre is sexist?
Men in narratives are often the main character in Hollywood films, and if they are shown to be part of a family unit, this is usually in the resolution part of the narrative and is an important part of the equilibrium. Remember if we use Todorov’s narrative then the equilibrium stage is about returning to the natural order. In this order Men represent the patriarchal society, as head of the family, this means women are subservient,
As John Berger said “Men act, women appear” (Berger 1972)
Ideology – refers to a set of ideas which produces a partial and selective view of reality. Notion of ideology entails widely held ideas or beliefs which are seen as ‘common’ sense and become naturalised.
What is important is that, in Marxist terms, the media’s role may be seen as :
Circulating and reinforcing dominant ideologies (less frequently) undermining and challenging such ideologies.
Rosalind Brunt (1992) details that ideologies are never simply ideas in peoples’ heads but are indeed myths that we live by and which contribute to our self worth.
Michel Maffesoli (1985) identified the idea of the “urban tribe” – members of these small groups tend to have similar worldwide views, dress styles and common behaviours – leads to the decline of individualism.
Practice Time: Think of this question as the first part of your revision...
“Representations in media texts are often simplistic and reinforce dominant ideologies so that audiences can make sense of them”. Evaluate the ways that you have used/challenged simplistic representations in one of the media products you have produced.