Richard Dyer: Stereotyping and power
Richard Dyer's theory suggests that the complexity and variety of a group is reduced to a few key characteristics. An exaggerated version of these characteristics is then applied to everyone in the group.
He states that those with power stereotype those with less power.
Therefore, we have stereotypes of non-white people, poor people and women... but not so many of white, middle class men.
Medhurst: shorthand that carries value judgements
Andy Medhurst suggests stereotyping is shorthand for identification. This means we use stereotypes to tell audiences a lot in a short space of time.
However, this can carry value judgements and therefore be very negative for the representation of minority groups. Medhurst gave the example of the representation of gay men:
"The image of the screaming queen does not just mean 'all gay men are like that', it means 'all gay men are like that and aren't they awful', which in turn means 'and they are awful because they are not like us'."
Perkins: stereotypes can be positive or partly true
Tessa Perkins suggests some stereotypes can be positive and are often true.
Specifically, she stated that stereotypes are...
- Not always negative (the French are good cooks)
- Not always about the less powerful (Politicians are corrupt)
- Can be about our own social groups (Students are lazy)
- Not always false (The Scottish wear kilts)
- Can change over time (A typical British holiday was in Blackpool; now it is Spain)
Mulvey: the male gaze
Laura Mulvey suggests that the dominant view in the media is masculine and created for the benefit of men. Women are presented for men to look at, hence the ‘male gaze’. This links to the idea of ‘sex sells’ and women being represented as sex objects.
More recently, the idea of the ‘female gaze’ has been suggested. Rosalind Gill suggests the objectified male is an example of post-feminist media culture in modern Britain. Task: write down an example for each.
Linked to Mulvey...
Berger: ‘Ways of seeing’
An additional representation theory that influenced Mulvey:
John Berger (1972) stated that: “Men act and women appear”
“Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at.”
Levi-Strauss: Representation and ideology
Claude Levi-Strauss suggests that representations in the media are informed by ideology: the set of beliefs and values held by the producer of the text.
Some things are included and others are left out to create a dominant or preferred representation.
Return to your TV or film clip that you have already analysed for dominant/alternative representations and stereotypes (original blog task was here).
You now need to write an in-depth analysis of the representation in this clip as if you were writing an essay or exam answer.
Apply the representation theories we have learned (you must apply a minimum of three of the theories) and write a minimum of 500 words.
Complete for homework: due next week in double lesson