Media Theory Revision Guide

"...essential for all media students"

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





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Kiss of the Vampire

Privileged oppositions


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The four characters depicted in the poster relay a series of genre driven binary oppositions. A conventional horror based good versus evil binary is realised through the white versus black colour pallets of character costume, while a power versus victim narrative is articulated through the dominant and submissive positioning of the characters. 

More interestingly the female/male pairings of the four characters offer a female versus male binary, and, given the historical context of the film and the emergence of sixties feminism% we might further argue that the text offers a commentary regarding the shifting balance of gender based power and the masculine anxieties surrounding the emergence of female liberation during the period. 

Unconventionally, the dominant character in the composition is the femme fatale figure who occupies the left centre position. Yet that domination is undercut by the demure presence of the fallen shoulder strap - a subtle reinforcer of the character’s role as an object of sexual gratification. 

The female’s power is therefore constructed as a taboo - an subversive portrayal of social norms that are forcibly repositioned within a patriarchal frame of reference.

Binary oppositions

Strauss tells us that media narratives work through the construction of conflict - presenting oppositional characters and events to create viewer interest or to construct ideological viewpoints. Viewers in narratives are usually positioned to agree with one of the oppositions presented to them.

Media terminology used

Second wave feminism

A feminist movement that began in the early 1960's in which women lobbied for workplace equality - widely credited to have been inspired by the writer Betty Friedan. This movement openly called into question the patriarchal biases that underpinned society and called for widespread social change.

Social taboos

Strauss tells us that a key function of cultural products is to outline the kinds of behaviours that are acceptable or taboo. We might argue that contemporary media products serve a similar purpose in that they outline ideologies that audiences are prompted to adopt.

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Media Theory for A Level
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