Media Theory Revision Guide
All A level theorists covered alongside revision summaries and exam practise exercises.
Atrixio and the gender binary
While a Barthian analysis is useful in capturing some of the meaning produced by language within Woman’s Realm, a better insight could be provided by applying an alternative language theorist.
For example, binary oppositions, as theorised by Levi-Strauss, are prevalent within Woman’s Realm, and, importantly, play a crucial role in the production of ideological meaning.
The Atrixo advert, for example, constructs an unambiguous set of binaries regarding the roles and outlooks that were deemed socially acceptable for men and women during the period.
Within the advert, for example, the female hand is posed more passively, while the gesture codes of the man allude to an active role.
Furthermore, the language used within the copy emphasises female ‘presentability’, at the expense of a more practical outlook, positioning this quality as more valuable to a female audience.
Consequently, the ideological meaning produced by the Atrixo advert is one which encourages acts of passive femininity for its female readership.
The construction of characters that are juxtaposed. Oppositions might be based on age, ability, physical appearance or the moral outlook of each character.
Media terminology used
Binary thinking structures
Strauss argues that humans naturally order the world using binary thinking. This thinking blueprint is expressed in the cultural products of any given society - in myths or television drama for example.
van Zoonen suggests that media products encode women as passive subjects, using soft focus photography or invitational gesture codes to suggest female vulnerability.