Media Theory Revision Guide

"...essential for all media students"

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





Revise, learn and apply A grade media terms with the Essential Media Theory glossary revision tool

media language quiz


exam prep downloads

Get ready for your end of year exams with the Essential Media Theory revision help tools.


Absent representations


4.0 3 Exemplar ratings

At first glance, one might argue that the Tide advert has little to offer in terms of race based representation, but, as bell hooks tell us, the absence of ethnicity within a product is just as powerful as its presence. 

The omission of non-white representations in this set text is symptomatic of the wider output of advertising texts during the period. The absence of non-white characters, bell hooks tells us, also helped to exclude non-white groups from real world power and reinforced to audiences of all ethnic persuasions that beauty norms, domestic ideals or those with cultural power could be anything other than white. 

The exclusion of such groups, in this sense, played an important role in the construction of the 1950’s American racial hierarchy, positioning black America as an uncivilised ‘other’ to an economically superior white mainstream audience.


Gilroy suggests that media stereotyping helps to exclude some groups from mainstream society - making them 'others' to those traits or behaviours that are seen as socially acceptable or considered normal.

Media terminology used

Closure and exclusion

Media products exclude groups from positions of social power through representation - often positioning marginalised groups as unworthy of social inclusion. For instance representations that equate black communities with violence can make white communities mistrustful. Sueven ch representation might make it difficult for black youths to gain employment.

Racial hierarchies

A term used by hooks to describe the status and power of different ethnic groups within society. hooks argues that white masculinity dominates Western social hierarchies with white females and black males beneath them. hooks tells us that black females assume the least powerful positions in society.

How helpful is this exemplar?Don’t love itNot greatSatisfiedReally goodExcellentHow helpful is this exemplar?
Media Theory for A Level
The Essential Revision Guide