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Media Theory Revision Guide

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




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Depictions of masculinity in Riptide

van Zoonen

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Riptide’s representation of masculinity conforms to van Zoonen’s assertion that male representations in the media are wholly different to the way that women are depicted. Where the video presents women as victims or as erotic spectacle using conventional beauty ideals, Riptide grants men the power to look and to act. 

The video’s male characters, for example, point guns and drive sports cars. Riptide’s men are active, conversely, the female depictions are restricted, restrained or subject to the actions of unknown forces. In this sense, we can argue that the video wholly reinforces van Zoonen’s notion that the media routinely encodes men as powerful and women as weak.

Active masculinity

van Zoonen suggests that media representations of men typically frame males as more active than those used to depict women. Masculine framing might emphasise movement, skill or action.

Media terminology used

Passive femininity

van Zoonen suggests that media products encode women as passive subjects, using soft focus photography or invitational gesture codes to suggest female vulnerability.

Beauty ideals

A socially constructed definition of what physical beauty ought to be, often resulting in audiences feeling a pressure to conform to the narrow ideals suggested.

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