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Media Theory Revision Guide

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




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Absent representations


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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 tells us that stereotyping excludes non-white groups from mainstream society, helping to define those groups as an 'other' to civilised norms and behaviours.

Media terminology used

Closure and exclusion

Media products help to exclude groups from positions of social power as a result of negative representations, often positioning marginalised groups as unworthy of social inclusion.

Gender/Race hierarchies

A term used to describe the status and power of different ethnic groups within society. hooks tells us that white masculinity dominates the gender/racial hierarchies of most Western countries.

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