Media Theory Revision Guide

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Huck

Mythologising stragies in Huck

Barthes

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Huck, undoubtedly, affects an ideological message via it’s story content, using what Barthes would recognise as a well-worn set of mythologising strategies that align its readership with a liberal individualist ideological stance. 

The magazine, for example, uses simplification to assert it’s viewpoint as common sense: the front page, for example, reduces global gender politics to a simplistic ‘women are dominated by men’ slogan, while the magazine’s repeated assertion that we live within a male dominated world (in Ocalan’s Angels and the Arabia Felix articles, for example) adds cumulative ideological weight to its feminist messaging.

Barthes, too, argues that the anonymisation of media content helps to assert a mythologising effect in media texts - disguising any underlying ideological intent as a shared or collective belief. The editor’s letter produces such an effect with the author’s name held from the reader to remove any sense of personal bias, while the article’s casual grouping of the reader within the shared perspective of the magazine via the use of ‘us’ and ‘we’ pronouns readily includes the magazine's audience as already acceptant of its diversity-oriented standpoint.

Barthes too tells us that readers readily accept messaging effects as a result of the media’s capacity to be relatable. Again, the gritty yet candid nature of Huck’s photography persuades us to accept it’s liberalist agenda. 

The windswept realism of the front cover, in particular, connects with readers real lives in a way that differs from the glossy idealism of conventional lifestyle magazines, but, nevertheless, still effects an ideological pull as a result of the subject’s pathos-generating low-eyeline and the powerless representation created by the front cover’s long-shot composition.

Message repetition

Barthes tells us that the media constructs ideological effects as a result of 'message repetition'. Audiences readily believe ideas that the media repeats, recycles or replicates.

Media terminology used

Message reduction

Barthes argues that the media tends to simplify or purify complex ideas. This 'reductive' impulse discourages audiences from questioning media messages and can construct ideological effects.

Realism effects

Barthes suggests that the media is a powerful audience manipulator because of its capacity to look real or to resemble the world that they know.

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Media Theory for A Level
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