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Media Theory Revision Guide

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 or events as a means of creating viewer interest or ideological messaging.

Media terminology used

Second wave feminism

Beginning in the early 1960s, this movement outlined the problematic nature of social norms of the period - specifically those that restricted women to domestic/childrearing roles.

Social taboos

Strauss tells us that myths outline unacceptable or socially taboo behaviours. Media products serve a similar purpose when narratives position audiences to reject some traits as flawed or undesirable

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