Lecture # 10: Fetishizing the body in the Media
The Media & Representation
The media do not produce the dominant ideology, but rather
-- reflect our dominant ideologies back to us
-- Proliferate dominant ideologies
-- Cause the dominant ideas to circulate and mutate
The media reflect cultural practices and as a result sustain values and ideas about gender
The media reproduce cultural views of gender in individuals
The media are gatekeepers of information and images
What are some media forms?
Advertising [comes to us through a wide variety of media and media use]
Radio, TV, film, print media, Internet, social media etc.
Media is pervasive in our everyday lives
Themes in Media:
1. minorities are underrepresented [ problematize minorities]
2. men and women are portrayed in stereotypical ways that reflect and sustain
socially endorsed views of gender
3. Depictions of relationships between men and women emphasize traditional
roles and normalize violence against women.
1. Minorities and the news
The invisibility of images of older people [particularly women]
2. Limits our perception of human possibilities
Stereotypical portrayals of men – how are men represented? How are men not
Stereotypical portrayals of women – how are women represented? How are
women not represented?
3. Ideas about men and women circulate in society through their presence and through
Women’s dependence and men’s independence
Women’s incompetence/ men’s authority
Women as primary caregivers/ men as breadwinners
Women as victims and sex objects/ men as aggressors & protectors
1 How news coverage presents the world to us in a particular way
These produce implications for gender by fostering unrealistic and limited gender
Queer identities often ‘a spectacle’ ‘a problem’ ‘comic’
Racialized stereotypes / invisibility
The media do not produce these images; media are very conservative institutions; their
primary goal is to make a profit; they don’t want to ruffle any feathers; they want to stay
within the confines of a framework that people understand. The portrayals that we see
are fairly dominant and normative; they come to appear as if they were natural. As we
know about the dominant ideology it describes and prescribes.
These images then, that we are subjected to, are controlling images. Controlling images
perpetuate racism, homophobia, classism, ageism, etc. Images in media work to control
how we live our gendered lives. In media there is a lot of portrayal of violence; 2 kinds of
violence are instrumental violence and expressive violence.
Instrumental violence – is violence by a group of individuals used to achieve a goal or
- a means to do something
- for example; if you are defending yourself that is a form of instrumental violence
because it has a purpose
- e.g. [I want to shut you up]; instrumental
Expressive violence – which is an expression of deep forces and feelings
- like rage, anger, hatred, frustration
- e.g. “I was driven to it”
- it could be produced through media in at least 2 ways; through encoding
- encoding is a context or images that amount to either hidden or explicit rationales
for the violence
Enplotting through the media – means inside the plot
- techniques that use violence to enhance or resolve problems in the actual plot
Often through idealized masculinity and femininity, we are constantly exposed through
media to different forms of violations. These values perpetuate classist, heterosexist, etc.
ideals, at the very least, and often how the media portrays these values does not help to
bridge the gap in society.
Instead these portrayals widen the gap between us.
Cultures are made to seem that they are worlds apart, when in reality, we are really not
that far apart in most ways. The construction of masculinity and femininity in hegemonic
advertising helps the construction of a physically forceful masculinity and an emotionally
flexible femininity. Hegemonic advertising helps to normalize violence and for example,
even when the media constructs cultural heroes – for working class men – they use this
2 structure as a way to mediate the fe