Media Theory’s

Laura Mulvey

Women in the media are viewed from the eyes of a heterosexual man, and that these women are represented as passive objects of male desire. Audiences are forced to view women from the point of view of a heterosexual male, even if they are heterosexual women or homosexual men.

John Berger

Women are objects for men to look at, desire and to seek pleasure from them.

Bell Hooks

She focuses on problematic racial representations for example:

  • Lighter skinned women are considered more desirable
  • Black women are objectified and sexualised in hip-hop.

Stuart Hall

Stuart Hall stated the idea that as an audience we must decode messages that the media have encoded us to hear and see. Stuart Hall was concerned by just how powerful the media is and believed that the media can effectively dictate what should be issues of public concern and interest through audience positioning.

Tricia Rose

States hip hop is an art form and gives black female rapers a voice and a sense of empowerment.

Paul Gilroy

  • Black music articulated diasporic experiences of resistance to white capitalist culture.
  • Employs the notion of ‘diaspora’ and how ethnic minorities (particularly black people) experience dislocation from their homeland. E.g. feeling as if you do not totally belong in Britain but you also are considered ‘English’ in the Caribbean, Africa or Asia etc.

Kobena Mercer 

Black gay film opens up audiences to the understanding of the dual exclusion (being gay and black).   Audiences are exposed to diverse representation displaying verisimilitude rather than stereotype. Verisimilitude is the appearance of being true or real.

Jacques Lacan

Lacan proposed that the mirror stage was part of an infants development from 6 to 18 months.• By the early 1950’s, Lacans concept of the mirror stage had evolved: he no longer considered the mirror stage as a moment in the life of the infant, but as representing a permanent structure of subjectivity, or as the paradigm of Imaginary order.

Hypodermic theory

The “hypodermic needle theory implied mass media had a direct, immediate and powerful effect on its audiences. The theory suggests that the mass media could influence a very large group of people directly and uniformly by ‘shooting’ or ‘injecting’ them with appropriate messages designed to trigger a desired response. The theory states that the media is a dangerous means of communicating an idea because the receiver or audience is powerless to resist the impact of the message. People are seen as passive and are seen as having a lot media material “shot” at them.

Moral panic

A moral panic is the intensity of feeling expressed in a population about an issue that appears to threaten the social order.

Todorov’s narrative theory 

He states that There are five stages the narrative can progress through:

1. A state of equilibrium (All is as it should be.)
2. A disruption of that order by an event.
3. A recognition that the disorder has occurred.
4. An attempt to repair the damage of the disruption.
5. A return or restoration of a new equilibrium.
Propp’s narrative theory
Propp stated that there are 8 main characters that appear in films and these are:
1. The Villain – Struggles against the hero.
2. The Dispatcher – Character who informs the hero on lack and sends him on his quest.
3. The (magical) Helper – Helps hero during quest.
4. The Princess/Prize – Hero deserves to marry her, but cannot throughout the film because of the villain, often the quest is ended with the Hero and the Princess getting married.
5. Her Father – Gives Hero task and identifies False Hero, Propp noted that the Princess and the Father cannot be clearly distinguished.
6. The Donor – Prepares the Hero
7. The Hero or Victim/ Seeker Hero – Reacts to the donor and gets married to the Princess
8. False Hero – In order to marry the Princess, he takes credit for the Heroes actions to impress her.


Levi Straus

Levi Strauss, a French anthropologist in the 1900s, proposed a theory of ‘binary opposites’ which entails that the majority of narratives in media forms such as books and film contain opposing main characters and these binary opposites help thicken and improve the narrative. examples of binary opposites are:

  • Good vs evil
  • Black vs White
  • Man vs women


Roland Barthes- Enigma Code

Refers to any element of the story that is not fully explained and hence becomes a mystery to the reader. The purpose of the author in this is typically to keep the audience guessing, arresting the enigma, until the final scenes when all is revealed and all loose ends are tied off and closure is achieved.

According to Barthes 5 narrative codes, a media text can be:

  • ‘Open’ – which is when lots of or all of the narrative codes are used making the story complicated. For example the film Inception‘  is an open media text as it has embedded complicated story lines.
  • ‘Closed’ – which is when a single narrative code is used, therefore the story is simple. For example the story Goldilocks‘ is a closed media text as the story is simple and there are no.


Media theory in my A2 music video

In my music video it follows Roland Barthes enigma code theory. Throughout the video there are going to be many elements that are unexplained which gives a sense of a mystery to the audience and to help retain the audience attention until the final scenes will revel why the protagonist is the only one alive in the world.






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