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Media Theory Revision Guide

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

 

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Womans Realm

Cultural codes: Woman's Realm

Barthes

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There is also significant use of cultural codes within Woman’s Realm, with frequent references made to shared knowledge external to the product. The use of cultural codes would have helped to construct audience relatability, reinforcing a notion that the magazine shared the same values and cultural world as that of its audience.


The Healing Power column, for example, relies heavily on the audience’s understanding of Christianity, and hints at the wider role of religion in the lives of Women’s Realm’s more traditional readers.


The article, too, is suggestive of the secularisation of society during the period and of the critiques made of organised religion by a burgeoning 1960s youth culture.

The language of the article is defensive, consistently referencing the readers’ understanding of God as a gendered entity by citing the idea as a ‘He’ or ‘Him’. 


The writing, furthermore, draws on the understanding of God as an omnipotent being whom humanity cannot fully comprehend. The association drawn between the ideas of masculinity and power, here, assists in reaffirming and justifying the patriarchal ideals prevalent within society at the time.


By covertly presenting these connections, the ideology that men naturally have more power than women in society is naturalised by the media. The column’s male God, importantly, is presented as an incomprehensible being who knows what is best for humanity.


His presence, moreover, should not be questioned, while readers are advised to remain subservient to him - to remain obedient even if he appears cruel or overbearing. Male power (and cruelty), as such, are legitimised for women.

Naturalisation

The media often makes ideas appear to look 'natural' or to feel like they're 'common sense'. Barthes tells us that these sorts of messages have a subtle yet powerful ideological effects on audiences.

Media terminology used

Cultural codes

Are elements that require external information or cultural knowledge to be decoded. Cultural codes, for example, might require scientific or religious knowledge for their meanings to be fully understood.

Ideology

Refers to the unwritten rules that govern how we act or that define socially acceptable behaviours. The media plays a crucial role in shaping and communicating these invisible rules.

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