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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

The Sunday Cook's gender binary


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A Straussian binary is clearly  evidenced in the illustrated accompaniment for The Sunday Cook spread. 

In this section of the magazine the formal attire of the male members of the family hints at the father's role as the family’s breadwinner, while the family's  mother and daughter serve their male counterparts in a show of domestic servitude.

The ideological implications of this binary presentation are explicitly clear, with the mother’s joy in the illustration conveying a clear sense of her acceptance and pleasure within her limited role as a mother and carer for her family.

The illustration also legitimises male power in that both the boy and husband are positioned at the head of the table - their body language commanding their females counterparts, while the mother bows before the illustration's male authority figures in acknowledgement of their masculine superiority.

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


A theory that suggests that human behaviour is governed by universally applicable rules. Strauss argues, for example, that humans naturally explain the world in terms of oppositional states.

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.

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