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Representation of Women in Media

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Stacey - Beth Sweeney

on 28 November 2012

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Transcript of Representation of Women in Media

Stacey Sweeney Representation of Women in
television... Richard Dyer (1985) Dyer believed that representation can be looked at in four ways; Richard Dyer's Key Questions... Who made it? When was it made? Where was it made?
What are the social/ political/ cultural origins of it?
What are its purposes?
Who benefits from the representation or whose point of view does it support?
Who does not benefit from it or whose point of view is not considered?
Who or what is not shown?
What does it represent for us and why?
Physical Appearance (Fouts 2002) Female characters are often split up into certain groups by using stereotypes. This is so that the audience can personally identify with at least one of the characters shown, in one way or another. Women are often linked to the domestic situation (housewives or mothers) or are objectified to entertain the male audience. Desperate Housewives was first aired October 3rd 2004 on the ABC channel, which is a popular American channel that is very TV drama based. In the Uk the programme was shown on Channel 4 and is now repeated on its sister channels E4 and E4 (+1). TV dramas are often seen as a very "female-viewer-attracted" industry There are generally fewer female characters, who are less central to the plot Marriage and parenthood seem to be the main plot ideas for female characters. The female characters which are employed are usually show in traditionally female occupations (i.e. hair dressers, bar maids or shop workers) ... ... and have less power and status to the male characters Re-presentation: repeatedly presenting reality

Representative of… being typical (stereotypical)

Recognising audience response: different audiences respond in different ways.

Speaking for and behalf of a group or an individual.


Single female characters tend to have the "girl-next door" or "ditsy blonde" look: slim, conventionally beautiful, usually without much intelligence and often have a happy personality. Laura Mulvey (1975) - Cinematography: Mulvey claimed that women are turned into sex objects through the way they are shot in the media, especially in television. There are also female characters who are hard working business women, who are represented as being strong and independent. They tend to wear smart clothing and are neat and nicely presented. Women in Media In Non-Fiction media: such as newspapers and TV news, tend to
cover male dominated topics (i.e. sport, politics and finance - where
98% of companies are headed by men). A woman's role tends to be
subordinate and are fewer in numbers than their male colleagues. In Fictional media: Women are typically seen less often than men on television and much less frequently in central dramatic roles. Figures show that in television dramas women are outnumbered by men 3:1 or 4:1 and in soap operas women are outnumbered by 7:3. Femininity, like masculinity, is a cultural idea not a biological one so
it differs from one culture to the next. Femininity In western societies (UK) some aspects of feminine representations in the media have changed drastically in recent years, while others have remained unchanged. Dramatic Portrayals of Women Popular themes:- Women's roles as mothers and housewives are still prominent in today's society. This is reflected in the majority of current TV dramas, similar to earlier productions. Television programmes such as Desperate Housewives are an example of this. Desperate Housewives The programme is based on a suburban area which is an upper-middle-class community. It focuses on a group of close-knit housewives, their friendship and their lives. The four main characters show exaggerated traits of stereotypical female roles. Gabrielle: represents the "dizzy" materialistic type. Who is attractive and seen as not very intelligent. Although she does change through motherhood. Bree: this character is portrayed as a "domestic goddess", who is very house proud. However, she is also a capable business woman with strong morals. Susan: she is seen as "flighty" and a dreamer as her expectations are less than realistic. Her success as a mother is varied. Lynette: she is predominantly seen as a mother of five children, whose life is very hectic. Despite her portrayal as a busy housewife, she has a very successful career which proves her skills in managing her work life balance. Desperate: the word "desperate" in the name of the programme reflects the common problems of women in modern societies. Whether it be their careers or their life style. Housewives: As a main family structure, which started to change in the 1950s, the term "housewife" was widely used. It portrayed women in an unskilled role, unless in a domestic situation. This is a feature that the programme picks up on and is shown throughout the programme and reflected in the title sequence. Women in Ensembles facing adversity:
1) "Tenko": this programme is set in a WW2 Japanese prisoner of war camp featuring a group of women trying to survive their ordeal against violent male guards. This programme challenges the stereotype of women being weak by demonstrating their courage.
TV Detectives:
1) "The Killing" - a modern and realistic drama from Denmark, the main character is a successful police detective in a male dominated area. This programme shows both the vulnerability and strength of this character and that she is equal or better than her male colleagues.
In the female dominated workplace:
1) "Making Out" - based in a garments factory, this programme reflects the stresses associated with potential unemployment and how they were seen as less skilled than the male characters. However, it becomes clear that they are needed to take on the role of the main wage earners as their male partners are in fact the ones who lose their jobs.
In Sci-fi:
1) "Star Trek Voyager" - in this long running series, the captain of the star ship was a women. This was the first time in over 20 years that a women had taken the lead role. The main target audience for this programme was male. The strength of the character soon over came any potential objections from the viewers. The End.
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