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Media Theory Revision Guide

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




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Demobilisation effects

van Zoonen

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Tide advert offers representations of femininity that conform to traditionally aligned patriarchal values. 

The model’s embrace of the soap box infers that women are both fulfilled and wholly satisfied with their traditional domestically oriented roles - naturalising, as Barthes would argue, the idea that women are primarily responsible for the domestic upkeep of the family home. 

The model’s flawless beauty also invites a form of readership that is oriented to Mulvey’s concept of the male gaze - legitimising female submission to both a male and female readership. 

The use of romantic ideals construct a soft sell for the product, yet simultaneously, the female perspective is aligned with notions of romance, love and other softer qualities. 

As a result, the advert’s female readership is positioned to internalise the male gaze and to embrace a highly restricted version of femininity in which domestic/romance oriented norms are foregrounded as ideal. 

The advert, we might argue further, is symptomatic of the way that women were repositioned in the demobilised aftermath of the Second World War, wherein the hard won job-based freedoms that were afforded to women were replaced by more traditionally aligned ideals as result of the wide scale return of men to their pre-war roles.

Internalized male gaze

Women who internalise the male gaze actively try to meet the beauty and behaviour ideals that patriarchal representations impose.

Media terminology used


The media often makes ideas appear to look 'natural' or to feel like they're 'common sense'. Barthes tells us that these sorts of messages have a subtle yet powerful ideological effects on audiences.

Patriarchal ideology

A set of ideas or outlooks that forward the idea that men are superior to women.

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