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How to answer a representation question

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Fergie Ferg

on 12 June 2015

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Transcript of How to answer a representation question

In some ways, the advert challenges stereotypes because older people can often be represented as "out of touch", "unfashionable" or "separate" from younger people and the implied narrative suggests that these women of different ages are all in it together as they are stood shoulder to shoulder.
However, the stereotype of older people being less fashionable than younger people is still present because the older women are dressed far more conservatively than the younger women.

Also the symbolic codes of their facial expressions reinforce this as the older women are more relaxed and the younger women have more serious expressions that are typical of fashion advertising.This might cause an oppositional reading in older women who want to be seen as fashionable and relevant.
Goffman's theory on gender in advertising cannot be applied here because the women, of all different ages, are not submissive or weak, they are stood confidently. This might help make the advert seem aspirational for the target demographic. The advert is saying that women of all ages are strong, confident and attractive.
How to answer
4- 5 marks (everyone must do this!!!)

What representations are in the advert or adverts and how are they constructed?
Symbolic codes/technical codes/language

How do the representations appeal to the target audience?
Example response
Discuss how age is represented in printed adverts. Refer to one advert you have looked at in class.
Example of questions you might be asked
How are men usually represented in printed adverts. Refer to one advert that you have looked at in class.
Stereotypes can also be used for comedic effect
In "Summer Heights High" (which is a hybrid of a sketch show and a sitcom), australian comedian Chris Lilley plays several characters including a teenage boy called Jonah Takalua.
How to answer a representation question
Starter question
What are the benefits of using stereotypes in advertising?

What are the negative effects?
A stereotype is a widely recognised view of a group of people that is usually general and oversimplified.
Because stereotypes are repeated throughout media texts, we recognise them instantly. This makes them effective for advertisers.
It actually takes audiences longer to decode an image that challenges or subverts a stereotype, and advertisers don't have time!
Stereotypically feminine
Not stereotypically feminine
Many of the symbolic codes, such as body language, he uses to portray Jonah are stereotypical of teenage boys - not a reflection of real life.
Why is it important for us to know about stereotypes?
Because knowing about stereotypes will help you achieve more marks on a representation question.
Discuss how age is represented in printed adverts. Refer to one advert you have looked at in class.
How are young people represented in adverts? Refer to examples you have studied in class.
How is gender represented in printed adverts?
Refer to two examples you have studies in class.
Representation is how groups of people are portrayed in media texts. For example, older people can often be portrayed as "out of touch".
In the Marks and Spencers "Leading Ladies" advert, a range of ages are seen. The older women such as Emma Thompson are shown as dignified through the use of the colours black and white which have connotations of high fashion and sophistication. The younger woman such as Rita Ora are represented in a more glamorous way through the use of symbolic codes such as dresses and skirts which are associated with femininity. This will appeal to the target demographic because it is suggesting that the brand M&S is for all ages and creates fashionable clothes for different kinds of women.
4-5 marks
Higher marks
Higher marks
Stereotypes (are they stereotypical/challenging stereotypes?)
Audience theory (readings/desensitisation)
Other theory (only if it's relevant!)
Implied narratives
Brand identity
How are women or men represented in adverts? Consider one advert that you have looked at in class.
Full transcript