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Media Theory Revision Guide

All A level theorists covered alongside revision summaries and exam practise exercises.




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The male gaze and Riptide

van Zoonen

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The inclusion of women as objects of violence in Riptide supports van Zoonen’s theoretical perspective. Van Zoonen tells us, for example, that women in the media are often constructed or are routinely depicted using problematic victim-based stereotypes.

The Microphone lady’s performance, for example, collapses into victimhood as the video progresses, her initial confidence replaced by a mascara-streaked performance that suggests the presence of an unknown threat. 

We are also presented with several scenes where women are included for the voyeuristic pleasures of the video’s male characters, and, by extension, are similarly offered up to us the audience as erotic spectacle. The beach scene, for example, traces the camera’s perspective to that of a male performer watching an unsuspecting female subject. Here, Laura Mulvey’s male gaze theory is writ large in the scene - a scene that underlines the media’s tendency to present women for the pleasure of male characters and a male audience. Ultimately, van Zoonen would assert that these routine depictions of women as erotic spectacle help to reinforce patriarchal power.

Male gaze

A stylised depiction of women that invites viewers to take erotic pleasure whilst viewing the female form. The female gaze is constructed through invitational poses and passive body language.

Media terminology used


A representation that depicts someone as an object of sexual gratification. Usually used to describe the sexualised portrayal of women in the media.


A simplified representation of a social group, constructed by exaggerating physical traits or behaviours. Stereotypes are problematic because they are easily internalised by audiences.

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