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Gender Representation in TV Drama

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Oliver Bland

on 13 September 2017

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Transcript of Gender Representation in TV Drama

Gender Representation in TV Drama
Representation Of Women.
Feminism has been around for over 30 years yet media representations of women are worryingly the same.

Watch the clips and in your folders make notes on the following sections.

Physical Appearance
Family Life
Professional Life
Interpersonal Relationships
Narrative Importance - What is the character doing? Why is she there?

You are trying to build an idea of how a stereotypical woman is represented in TV drama.

Women are often represented as being part of a context (family, friends, colleagues) and working/thinking as part of a team.

Vladimir Propp who is he what was his theory?

Can you name any of the key characters that Propp identified?
Which role would most women in TV Dramas fill and Why?
Are women passive or active in TV dramas?


Gender is 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?

DNT - in your groups discuss and list which inanimate objects can be described as He/She and WHY?
Propp suggested that every narrative has eight different character types, these character types are:

The Villain
— fights the hero in some way.
The Dispatcher
— character who makes the villain’s evil known and sends the hero off.
The Helper
— helps the hero in the quest.
The Princess or Prize
— the hero deserves her throughout the story but is unable to marry her because of an unfair evil, usually because of the villain. The hero's journey is often ended when he marries the princess, thereby beating the villain and resulting in a “happily ever after” moment.
Her father
— gives the task to the hero, identifies the false hero.
The Donor
— prepares the hero or gives the hero some magical object.
The Hero
— reacts to the donor, weds the princess.
False Hero
— takes credit for the hero’s actions or tries to marry the princess.

Sailing vessels, have often been referred to as “she.” Even when the ship is named after a man, such as the USS Ronald Reagan.

Countries are sometimes referred to as “she”. “There’s America,” you might point out to a foreign friend in a plane. “Isn’t she beautiful?”

Some people name inanimate objects and refer to them as “she.”
B.B. King’s guitar is named Lucille after a woman at the center of an incident at a club he was playing in his earlier years. He often refers to the guitar as “she

She is often used when describing something we love or admire...or that can be temperamental like a car...
Watch these extracts from Spooks and analyse the female characters, are they stereotypical woman in TV dramas? and WHY?
Lesson Objective - To identify the stereotypical representation of women in TV Drama
Men are still represented as TV drama characters up to 3 times more frequently than women, and tend to be the predominant focus of the stories.
Women in TV Drama
Do Now Task
Using your knowledge from last lesson to explain how women are usually depicted in TV Dramas ?
Lesson Objective - To identify the stock female character that exist in TV Drama
Ext - Which of Propps
main characters do they
usually represent?
Stock Female Characters
Stock characters play off of popular stereotypes of women e. g. innocence, helplessness or more recently, attempts to break these stereotypes e. g. women's rights, feminism.
They appear throughout TV dramas and without them our viewing pleasure wouldnt be the same.
The Dumb Blonde

The Dumb Blonde or Bimbo: She is usually unintelligent but attractive.

She could also be just plain silly/comic relief-such as Jillian in Family Guy, Kayley Cuoco in Big Bang Theory and Karen Smith in Mean Girls.

Occasionally the Dumb Blonde isn’t actually blonde, just dumb.

Marilyn Monroe portrayed this stereotype in a number of movies.

In very rare cases the Dumb blonde isn't dumb but acts in the fashion of the dumb blonde to avoid being classified as a Nerd Girl in her social circle.
Desperate Housewives
Watch the opening 10 minutes of the pilot episode and try to identify as many female stock characters that you can, explaining your reasoning with examples.
There are many other stock female characters that are depicted in TV dramas
The Male Gaze
Lesson Objective - To understand how women represent the male gaze in TV and film.
The Gaze.
The concept of gaze is one that deals with how an audience views the people presented.

How men look at women,
How women look at themselves
How women look at other women.

The camera lingers on the curves of the female body, and events which occur to women are presented largely in the context of a man's reaction to these events.

Relegates women to the status of objects. The female viewer must experience the narrative secondarily, by identification with the male.

Features of The Male Gaze
Laura Mulvey coined the term ‘Male Gaze’ in 1975. She believes that in film audiences have to ‘view’ characters from the perspective of a heterosexual male.

Watch this music video and make as many notes on it as you can...be prepared for some questions afterward.
What colour top was he wearing?

What bowling lane was used?

What colour belt did she have on?

What colour shoes did he have on?

What colour eyes does he have?

Quickfire Questions
Why can't some of you answer these questions?
Fighting Back?
Watch this trailer for Kill Bill. What does it tell you about the lead character?
Uma Thurman represented as powerful, dominant and independent

Sword stands in for and castrates phallus

Adopts male characteristics of aggression

Not masculinised yet in masculine roles
Tight outfit allows objectification

Voyeuristic pleasures by watching Thurman on her killing rampage

Remember male director/industry may still mean male ideologies

The Female Gaze.
Is not 100% all male gaze - In Twilight the hot vampire hero, played by Robert Pattinson, lurks, slim and muscly, pale and defined, wearing makeup, lusciously coiffed, looking exactly like … a girl. A tough, cool, sexy, androgynous girl. Heroine Bella simply stares at him, mouth open.

For the whole film, he is the object, she the boyish beholder, the desirer, the wanter, the one who says, "You're beautiful".
The Male Gaze in TV Drama
Can you think of TV dramas that use the male gaze to control the narrative?
Here is one example:

Men tend to look at the 'curvy parts' of women. Like the idea that men don't tend to look women in the eyes, but at other parts of their bodies.

Women are made to look at themselves in a negative way, picking fault with parts of their appearance when they see how women look in the media; when they have been airbrushed.
It triggers a lack of self esteem and makes women aspire to be like models in magazines or on TV. Women become reflective.

Women can look it other in a sexual way. But mainly they judge and compare themselves to other girls.
E.g. Looking at what another girl is wearing and then comparing it to your own clothing.

Do Now Task
What have you learnt?
You have 5 minutes to discuss in your groups what you know about the following and then feedback to the class with relevant examples
Stock Characters
The Male Gaze
ME - Mr Bland not Blandy!!!
Narrative Importance
Main Task
In your groups watch your allocated section of "The Closer" analyse it looking at the main female character and her role in the show.

Pick out 5-10 key moments from your section you can use to illustrate your argument.

Divide up your group accordingly so you can cover as much content as possible and produce a presentation ready for next weeks lesson.
Do Now Task
You have 5 minutes to finalise your presentations and send them to me.
Present your part to the class!!
Think of constructive questions and comments to enhance your learning.
Women in TV Dramas are housewives or sex objects.
Google "Vladimir Propp"
Find his theory on characters

7 main ones
What are they?
Give an example from a tv show
or film.....
Full transcript