Media Theory Revision Guide

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

 

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Kiss of the Vampire

Patriarchal reinforcement

van Zoonen

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van Zoonen offers a series of arguments regarding the differentiated treatment of males and females in traditional media. She argues that women are routinely constructed as objectified and sexualised participants within traditional media texts. 


The Kiss of the Vampire poster exemplifies this process through the depiction of the eroticised female figure on the left hand side of the frame, where emphasis clearly is placed upon her sexual availability, while her submissive pose suggests female passivity under a strong masculine presence. 


The fallen shoulder of the central female character furthers constructs a sexualised representation and invites a patriarchally aligned response through the use of the male gaze. 


van Zoonen, ultimately, would suggest that both characters are constructed to primarily satisfy a male spectatorship. Female engagements would inevitably result in an internalisation of that specific ideological viewpoint.

Objectification

A representation that depicts someone as an object of sexual gratification. Usually used to describe the sexualised portrayals of women.

Media terminology used

Male gaze

A term coined by the film theorist Laura Mulvey that refers to the routine objectification of women by media products. Mulvey tells us that media products routinely depict women to male audiences in a highly sexualised way - framed to invite male audiences to take sexual ownership of women.

Internalized male gaze

van Zoonen suggests that objectified representations of females in the media can lead both women and men to internalise the submissive/sexualised female ideals that are constructed by patriarchy. Women who internalise the male gaze actively try to meet the beauty/behaviour ideals that patriarchal representations impose.

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