A Level Media Theorists

Regulation and various other theory things

  • Created by: Zoe Jones
  • Created on: 13-04-12 17:36


Stuart Hall (1997)

Defines representation as 'the process by which members of a culture use language... to provide meaning'.

From this he says we can already see that representation can't be a fixed, unchanchangeable notion.

While culture and language evolve and grow with human society, the same must therefore be said of the perceptions of representation.

Representation: The description or portrayal of someone or something in a particular way or as being of a certain nature. How something is presented.

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Feminist Approaches and Feminist Research

There are three main kinds of feminism

  • Traditional Liberal Feminism
  • Radical Feminism
  • Post modern Feminism

Traditional Liberal Feminism

  • concerned about 'cult of femininity' - that the media shape the identity of women
  • Generally critically of women's magazines
  • Against sex stereotyping
  • In a backlash of feminism, they created a new stereotype - the 'superwoman' juggling family, work and sex (magazines like Cosmo, Elle)

Radical Feminism

  • Belief that we live in a patriarchal society (men dominate and oppress women)
  • At extreme they reject all male society 
  • Believe in having 'female' media, for example the feminist 'Spare Rib' magazine and the radio station 'Viva'.

Postmodern Feminism

  • Reject idea that women are victims, duped by magazines
  • No one's image of women but fractured, multiple identities
  • More attention paid on how women read magazines
  • Emphasis on irony and humour
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Feminist Approaches and Feminist Research

Marjorie Ferguson (1983)

Analysis of Women, Woman's Own, Woman's Weekly 1949-1974

The magazines suggest that women should identify with the cult of feminity which focuses on

  • Him
  • Home
  • and looking good
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Feminist Approaches and Feminist Research

Janice Winship (on Cosmopolitan)

  • IMAGE: found that Cosmo expressed passive images of women through the 'male gaze' despite feminist attitude
  • SEX: Although 60% of readers are married, the magazine feels as though it is directed toward single women. Hetrosexual. Has humorous attitude to sex but is still seen as necessary for emotional health
  • WORK: middle-class representations of success in workplace

So Winship says that Cosmo offer a muted feminism (the mutedness of one group can be inversely thought of as the deafness of the group that dominates ie men (Ardener, 1978))

  • celebreates independence but is still full of adverts & glossiness
  • so doesn't really attack routes of inequality in society
  • still a product of a patriarchal society


Accepting or allowing what happens or what others do, without active response or resistance.

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Feminist Approaches and Feminist Research

Angela McRobbie- Postmodernism

Magazines such as: Bliss, Marie Claire

  • Bold, brash, ironic references to sex
  • Female sexual pleasure emphasised, romance demystified
  • Sex sells magazines
  • Freedom and independence emphasised
  • Aimed at younger women who have has more opportunities & work
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Feminist Approaches and Feminist Research

Joke Hermes- Reading Women's Magazines

  • Women's magazines are liked because they are easy to put down
  • Give opportunities for emotional learning
  • Being a woman's magazines reader is a temporary identity that both men and women adopt
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Feminist Approaches and Feminist Research

Laura Mulvey

  • 'Film has been called an instrument of the male gaze, producing representations of women, the good life, and sexual fantasy from a male point of view' (Schroeder 1908)
  • The concept derives from an article called 'Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema' by Laura Mulvey, a feminist film theorist. It was published in 1975 and is one of the most widely cited articles in the whole of contemporary film theory. 
  • 'To gaze implies more than to look at- it signified a psychological relation of power, in which the gazer is superior to the object of the gaze' (Schroeder 1998).

'You don't have to be anti-man to be pro-woman' Jane Galvin Lewis

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