Friday, 16 May 2014

Music question

B4. How global is the appeal of your tree main texts?

All of my artists (Nirvana, Radiohead and Lady Gaga) have different global appeals, some more than others.
Out of my three main texts, Lady Gaga may be considered the most globally appealing. Being signed to Interscope Records (a major, world-wide label attached to Universal), 'Born This Way', her second studio album was internationally successful. This would have been aided by the money invested by such a large record company using large budgets, extremely technical music videos to create a high production value value.By being singed with Interscope, Gaga's tour covered Europe, Asia and North America, calling it the 'Monster Ball Tour'. Creating a theme, Gaga continued to call herself 'Mother Monster' and her fans 'Little Monsters'. This creates a parasocial relationship between herself and her fans, with Gaga's Twitter account having 41.4 million followers to date. By retweeting the tweets of her fans, Lady Gaga allows her audiences to believe that she is one of them (socialising like any other person) therefore creating a one-sided, interpersonal relationship. Her fans, calling themselves 'Little Monsters' can be found globally, and the reason for their success is identity. Her fans can join forums to talk to other Little Monsters called (a website which fans could locate anywhere).

Whereas, in the 90s limited technology meant Nirvana's music could not reach global success as quickly as Lady Gaga has. Without the internet (and sites such as Amazon, YouTube and iTunes in which audiences can stream or buy music instantly), Nirvanas record label, Geffen relied on Live Performance and Word of Mouth to create appeal. Even being signed to such a huge label, both Nirvana and Geffen didn't realise how global their music would become. Album sales shocked the record label, with them only shipping 46,000 copies of the album to US stores and 35,000 to UK stores, however went on to sell 30 million copies (and still being sold). Nirvana (or their label) have now gone on to create a 20th anniversary album for the death of Kurt Cobain, which would have gained massive amounts of publicity (via word of mouth, magazine articles

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Discuss the audience appeal of your three main texts. [30]

My three chosen texts present a large variety of conventions which relate to audience members, however each text in different ways. With both mainstream (texts which aim to tend to a larger, considered passive audience) and niche (a smaller audience base, often considered more active) audiences requiring gratification from their texts, the three texts I will be analysing do this.

My first text, Lost, was a television series produced by the National company ABC, using producers such as JJ ABrams (Director of the New Star Wars films) indication the companies intentions for the series being a hit with a wide audience in order to produce as high a profit as possible. This focus on a large audience will have no doubt influenced decisions with regards to narrative, non-diegetic sound and traditionally used conventions in other mainstream texts. With the used of an ensemble cast consisting of characters from every walk of life, ethnicity, race, wealth, gender and background the producers of Lost ensured that there would be a cast member which would appeal to nearly every audience type, whether it was a physical quality or a piece of the narrative that they could relate to. This would create a preferred reading in a large portion of its audience. A fan base names Lostpedia was created to allow fans to discuss the goings on in the latest episode and to encourage any ideas that audience members had about what may be to come in the forthcoming series and episodes in the hope that they may be recognised by the producers, gratifying audience members further. After all, this would keep a large majority of the audience to be considered 'preferred' and keep profits high. The idea that Lost's narrative, cast and excessive use on non-diegetic sound may not have appealed to a certain amount of audience members (who may consider themselves or be considered by others as a more active audience type) due to the excessive use of non-diegetic sound. Such examples include a deep humming during a slow zoom extreme close-up on one of the character's (Charlie) face before a flashback of his experience aboard the flight , to ensure the audience's recognition that his story may be tainted/mysterious. More active audience's may have thought this (along with the use of an also excessive use of enigma codes which are quickly answered, leaving no thought for the audience) may have bored them.

The second text, Mad Men, is considered a more niche text (therefore gratifying the needs of a niche audience more than that of a mainstream audience). Produced by AMC (Initially American Movie Classics) is known for it's 'quality not quantity' approach to the production of it's programmes, therefore appealing to audience members such as readers of the Guardian (who update their online news with spoilers, guides and the latest news of the show).
The use of little or no non-diegetic sound will appeal to the audience members as they will be ale to use their own imagination and interpret the narrative for themselves, rather than feeling as though they are being told how to feel about each scene or each character and their story line, allowing them to watch the programme more actively. Out of the episode I am focusing on, there is only one use of non-diegetic sound for approximately 20 seconds as the climax to the episode and it's specific narrative come into the audiences view. This is when the lead male character (Don Draper) is preparing for a presenting a pitch to the company Jaguar. This use of sound creates a slight hyper reality and also allows it's audiences to understand the intensity of the narrative through a more obvious approach. Some audience members may take an oppositional reading to this due it's obviousness. 

Recaps from online sites such as 'The Orange Couch' also suggest that the representation of women is limiting. Giving them few options as to whether they are to wives, mistresses or career focused women. Characters such as Peggy (one of the main characters) is oppressed in this way and women like her a targeted with questions: 'Everybody else is gonna want to know if you're married, or planning on having a baby.' Audiences may not find this representation appealing or accurate and therefore become oppositional to it's narrative, however others may find the representation intriguing and take a preferred or negotiated reading by giving the programme a chance.

My last chosen text is Peaky Blinders, a text screened by BBC2 and set in the early 1900's in Birmingham. A highbrow text, Peaky Blinders shows culture and intelligence, contributing to it attracting a specific audience type. The popularity of the BBC allows audences to believe that the text will become rather mainstream, however it presents us with aspects which may apply to niche audiences.
Examples of these aspects include the period in which it is set. Set in the early 1900's, the programme is taking place just after the end of world war 1, therefore only appealing to a niche audience. Younger audience members would possibly be unaware of some of the contributing factors to the specif narrative and props used in the text, therefore watching passivly and maybe only taking a negotiated reading from the text. Other audience members however, such as those interested in the war, may enjoy the show and therefore take a preferred reading. 
Other aspects which may be considered to appeal or not appeal to certain audience members is the strong accent used due to the location being in Birmingham. Such an accent may lead audience members to being unable to understand some characters, to find the accent irritating or different to what they may be used to and therefore take an oppostional or negotiated reading to the text.
Peaky Blinders has been acknowledged for it's cinematography and high production values, therefore attracting a niche audience. The same audience however, may have found that the text lack originality and mirrored several aspects found in Boardwalk Empire, including narrative themes, and therefore may take a negotiated (or even oppositional depending on how strongly they deem the similarities between the two) reading towards the text. 

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

'Most media texts target a range of different audiences' - How true is this for your chosen texts?

'Lost' is a text produced by ABC (a large production company which focuses on producing mainstream texts), directed by JJ Abrams, a director who predominantly works in mainstream texts such as Star Trek. The intended audience for such a director and company, and therefore the intended audience for the programme would be as wide an audience as possible, being more mainstream than niche. 

An example of the programme's attempt in appealing to such a wide, mainstream audience stems from it's use of an ensemble cast. With characters of a range of ages, genders, religions, beliefs, nationalities and sexuality, there is something for every audience type to relate to within the narrative. An example of a character found relatable by audience members may include Charlie, who we realise to be a drug addict through the use of flashbacks. Within the flashbacks we see Charlie put a powdered substance onto his gums and visibly relax in comparison to his previous state, and audience members of an type may find this relatable, whether they suffer from addictions relating drugs or alcohol, or know of the consequences cause by such addictions through someone that they may know. Another example of such relatable characters include the father-son relationship found between Michael and his son, Walt. We come to find out within the episode that Walt's dog survived the plane crash and is also on the Island, however lost. The relationship becomes strained between the two and Walt takes comfort in the company of Locke, a quiet, middle-aged man playing  board game on the beach, telling Lock that he and Michael have only known each other a couple of weeks. Walt was taken into Michael's care after his mother died in Australia. The relationship between the Michael and Walt may be found extremely relatable for certain audience members, whether the relationship is between father and son or  mother and daughter, the issues that lie within the relationship will prove similar. 

In the same scene as Walt's finding comfort in Locke, we are faced with an enigma code, another convention used by 'Lost' to appeal to a wider audience base. The enigma code in the mentioned scene produces Locke asking Walt if he would like to know a secret. After the question is asked, the shot cuts to another scene, leaving the audience with wondering what the secret may be, and when they will find this information out. Throughout the episode, as the trills and tribulations of the characters continue, after approximately 7 minutes, a scene ends and fades to black, allowing time for an advert break. The scene ends after Walt (Michael's son) finds a pair of handcuffs just into the forestry away from the beach after looking to find his dog. As Michael approaches and finds his son, the handcuff's are discovered. The shot zooms in on the handcuffs which have been discarded on the floor and then cuts to black for the ad break. This use of an enigma code again leaves the audience in anticipation, the aim of the programme being to ensure that members of the audience watching will return to continue watching after the ad break has ended. Other enigma codes include a mysterious letter which we discover Sawyer reading nearer to the end of the episode, which is not solved during the same episode.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Fish Tank Analysis - Clip 3

How typical is your chosen text of it's genre?

As a genre, Social Realism aims to gain empathy from it's audience members for the characters involved in the narrative. Such characters include a protagonist (usually working class, found as part of an under represented minority and striving for an improved life) and a non-nuclear family, which is usually found to be dysfunctional or broken in some way. It may be argued that the protagonist and her family in 'Fish Tank' are part of the under class rather than considered working class as it isn't mentioned that Mia's (the protagonist) mother works, and neither does she, therefore not adhering to the traditional conventions of said genre.
In trying to gain this empathy, the genre uses typical issues (of it's genre) such as paedophilia, children under the age limit (for either alcohol or sexual intercourse), alcohol and depression. It is made clear in this short clip that these factors and issues are apparent in the lives of the protagonist and her family, an example being when Connor, the boyfriend of Mia' mother is at their home and playing with Mia's younger sister, Tyler, all is well, however as soon as he leaves, we find the mother and her two daughters arguing, screaming and swearing at each other. This shows that not only Mia but her mother and sister need a male influence in their lives to restore order to their family setting. This male may act as a father and authoritative figure, or as a partner. A shot of Connor playing with Tyler just before he leaves their home uses an over the shoulder shot to allow the audience to view the scene over the shoulder of our protagonist and therefore seeing what happens from her perspective, and through her eyes. This is a relatively still and clam shot in comparison to one which follows Connor leaving, and the argument breaking out between the mother and daughter. As Mia is in the living room watching her sister and mother argue, she gets up and walks to them in the kitchen, with the movement of the shot being very abrupt and fast pace, following Mia as she moves towards the action. This may indicate that without a male figure, the family is dysfunctional and broken, however with such a figure, the family would fulfil the role of the nuclear family. This is also another narrative convention of the Social Realist genre.
Technical conventions which are used by and usually associated with the Social Realist genre include the use of a Point Of View shot, normally at eye level, following the protagonist or character involved. These are made apparent in the clip, and are used in many ways. When Mia is throwing stones at the window of a flat a few stories up, 

Monday, 2 December 2013

'Most texts today mix genres.' How true is this of your three main texts?

Post Modernism suggests that genres are often mixed, creating hybrids, parodies or films paying homage to a previous creation. The text District 9 is seen to support this statement, and this is evident in the films conventions conforming to those of both the Sci-Fi genre and Documentary-style genres. The text is therefore considered a hybrid of the two. 

The Sci-Fi genre is made significantly apparent during the film District 9, involving the typical conventions of aliens and humans co-existing, space travel and transformations of the body. Other, less obvious aspects of the Sci-Fi genre (for example a futuristic aspect) are made apparent in a subtle manner, with parts of the mise-en-scene making this factor apparent. Examples of these factors include the use of high-technological apparatus and the date at the beginning of the film being stated (as in the future). Other, more apparent conventions of such a gene are also made apparent, for example the co-existence of aliens. This, mixed with the aliens (or 'prawns') being documented in such a fashion supporting the conventions of a documentary-style genre creates a hybrid of two genres. The aliens and humans interact through both the documentary-style filming of the film and the smaller documentaries found throughout.
One scene in particular shows aspects of a documentary-style film, through the use of hand-held recording which follows the protagonist through corridors, from a higher camera angle which may be found to put him at a disadvantage in relation to his power. By being shot from a higher angles, Wikus (the protagonist) may be looked upon by the audience members as weak and lacking authority, which is how he is being represented at this point in the film. This angle, however remaining very short (approximately 2 seconds) in this shot, continues throughout the scene where Wikus is being examined and tested (against his will, again representing him as a weak person) by members of staff. THese characters are filmed in a juxtapositional manner in comparison to Wikus, putting them in a dominating and controlling position. The MNU logos around the scene present the audience with a large corporation, clearly being used to test humans (and maybe aliens) against their will. The scene shows Wikus to have a mutated hand, heavily supporting the convention of the Sci-Fi genre of body transformations., however the documentary-style genre is also supported in this scene through the use of 

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Coursework so far, plus notes...

`To what extent are women objectified and misrepresented in the media by fashion magazines such as 'Vogue' and 'Look'?

Within this essay, my intention is to focus on the representation (or misrepresentation) of females through media texts of today. I will be specifically focusing on Vogue [1] and Look [2], both of which are aimed at women’s fashion within the UK and were published in October of 2013. My investigation will delve into if the exaggeration of representation in females is necessary to gratify it’s audience members, how truthful and accurate the representation of body image is, and finally I will analyse several articles taken from both magazines to identify any ideologies, whether they are making stereotypical assumptions that women are purely interested in fashion, or whether these ideologies are more contemporary.  
I will take into consideration the works of reputable theorists such as Laura Mulvey and her work on the Male Gaze, Jacques Lacan and his Mirror Stage, John Burger and ‘Ways of looking’, Post Feminism, the theory of Uses and Gratifications that the audience may acquire and many more.

Laura Mulvey’s theory offers an insight into how the cinema offers pleasures for it’s audience members, one being scopophilia. Despite this being based on film, we can relate the theory to any media text, whether this be in the form of television, film or print.  In section III ‘Women as Image, Man as Bearer of the Look’ of Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema (1975) [3], Mulvey defines the Male Gaze as ‘In their traditional exhibitionist role women are simultaneously looked at and displayed, with their appearance coded for strong visual and erotic impact so that they can be said to connote to-be-looked-at-ness. Woman displayed as sexual object is the leit-motif of erotic spectacle: from pin-ups to striptease, from Ziegfeld to Busby Berkeley, she holds the look, plays to and signifies male desire’.[3a]  There is a tendency to apply the Male Gaze to other forms of media, such a print, however this is more closely related to the cinematic gaze, rather than that found in print.

As mentioned previously, I will firstly talk about the exaggeration of representation of women, and whether this is necessary in order to gratify its audience’s needs. Whilst researching, I came across an article written by the Daily Mail around the topic of clothes size. It stated that a UK Size 16 is ‘Britain's most common dress size’ [4]. Articles like this contradict the stereotypical ideology that a slimmer size 8 is the average size (or the desired size) that is ‘advertised’ in magazines. There is however, a huge difference between what the average size is and what the desired average size is. The average size has been found in the UK at a 16, however magazines such as Vogue and Look do not advertise brands or products using models of this size, in fact I can’t remember the last time that I saw a model of this size in either of these magazines. 
This representation of women can be exaggerated in several ways, examples including clothes size, airbrushing, the use of celebrities or icons rather than day-to-day women,

A content analysis of the latest edition of both Vogue and Look magazines found than an astonishing amount of advertisements contain female models no larger than a clothes size 6. 132 in Vogue compared to a mere 37 advertisements in Look contained female models of this size [1] [2]. I also found there to be approximately 8 size 8 models in Vogue, in comparison to 23 in Look. Taking into consideration that Vogue contains more than four times the amount of pages than look does, and contains more advertisements as a whole (rather than articles etc.), Vogue is still showing more size 6 models in proportion to it's other advertisements than Look are. Over all, the number of models found in these editions that were found at and larger size than an 8 were astoundingly small. 6 were found in Vogue, and 3 in Look (both of which only showed models no larger than a British clothes size 12). This will no doubt convince the magazine's audience that this is the way that they are meant to look, if naturally sized women are not represented at all in these magazines, then why would women think that it is something to strive for? They wouldn't. Vogue as a magazine contains a larger amount of advertisements rather than articles and stories, in comparison to Look, which has just been proved by the statistics given. Because of this, Vogue's intentions and motives may be seen to differ compared to those of Look Magazine, which contains articles on the latest celebrity relationships, gossip articles and affordable fashion.  These sorts of articles tend to gratify the needs of it's audience members by giving them an insight into the latest celebrity news and gossip. By doing this, Look (as a magazine) is in a way advertising the celebrity as a lifestyle choice, in comparison to Vogue, which I have found to be advertising a specific product, name or brand. Therefore, Vogue is seen to be directly advertising a specific product, whereas Look are advertising a certain style, and showing the audience how to achieve this style through the brands directly advertised in Vogue (or similar products at a much more affordable price).
By exaggerating and therefore misrepresenting the number of size six to eight women in the UK, these statistics place an emphasis on the ideologies that have been created by the media. 

A study published on the 15th of August of 2013 showed an audit of all UK-based magazines and their circulation within the first half of this year [5]. This showed Look to be fifty nine magazines away from the highest circulating magazine of the first half-year, compared to Vogues' standing at sixty two. This may prove (in conjunction with the number of size 6-8 models in the October edition of both magazines) that magazines containing larger-sized women may be found more appealing to audience members. And not any audience members, the target audience for both magazines is of the female gender, proving that the exaggeration of representation (in respect to clothes size, anyway) is not necessary. The reason for Look being higher in circulation than Vogue may come down to several other contributive factors however, including a lower price of £1.80 [2] in comparison to Vogue’s £3.99 [1] and local, more affordable and easily accessible brands being advertised. As mentioned previously, the target audience for both magazines has been found to be females, and this can be supported by journalism columns from opinion-based sources such a Journalism students studying at the University of Winchester, and factual-based sources such as The Guardian. The producer of the column written about Vogue magazine stated that; Vogue’s target audience is females in their late twenties to thirties.’ and that ‘Since joining Vogue in the late 1980’s, Editor Anna Wintour has worked to protect the magazine's status and reputation among fashion publications. Wintour changed the focus of the magazine in order to do so. She focused on more accessible ideas of "fashion" to suit a wider audience. This allowed Wintour to keep a high circulation while discovering new trends that a broader audience could afford. Wintour also departed from her predecessors' tendency to portray a woman’s face alone on the front cover. This, according to the Times', gave "greater importance to both her clothing and her body.’ Both of these comments allow us to understand that as a female editor, Anna Wintour’s initial aim was ne ver to objectify the female models used in her magazine, but to allow people to look at the model as a whole (body included) rather than just a face, whether this lead to the objectification of women or not, is however another story. [6]


Vogue Magazine, October Edition (A monthly magazine)

Look Magazine, October Edition (Published 7th October: A weekly magazine)



Published 15th August 013


Laura Mulvey
Jacques Lacan
Hyper reality
Uses and Gratification
Post Feminism
John Burger: Ways of Seeing

Aim 1: Does female representation have to be exaggerated in order to gratify the needs of it’s audience.
Aim 2: How truthful is the representation of body image?
Aim 3: Article analysis, looking into ideologies.

Size 16 is ‘normal’ and now our average, in comparison to 195 where the average was 7 inches slimmer and a stone lighter.
University dissertation research
Published 15th August 013

Magazine Circulation stats: First half of 2013

Here is a full breakdown for UK magazine sales in the first half of 2013 as measured by ABC.

Name of magazine
% paid for
avg sale
change y/y

No. 62
Out of a possible

5 criticisms of women’s portrayal in magazines

Beauty Redefined Blog

Is the representation of women’s body image truthful?
-         Clothes size: using unrealistic models, or photo shopping realistic models to make them look unrealistic, or copying their head onto another, slimmer body.
-         Face: airbrushing (make-up, hair extensions)
-         Clothing (sense of style, shoes, objectification: short skirts/dresses etc.)
Article Analysis: ideologies (of what?)
-         Real women?
-         Affordable/Not affordable clothing?

Friday, 18 October 2013

Coursework Research: Notes

Laura Mulvey: The Male Gaze
Sigmund Freud: Scopophilia

Jacques Lacan: The Mirror and The Gaze

Lacan introduces the mirror stage, a developmental stage that he observed in infants from 6 to about 18 months.  In this stage, the infant recognises him or herself in the mirror as a whole entity instead of the fragmented movements and undefined boundaries between self and other (baby and mom especially) that have constituted his or her world up to that point. Lacan says this shows that the infant has desires to see him or herself as an "I." The vision in the mirror, which comes at a time when the infant doesn't have control over his or her own body yet, gives that image of the "I" as a "mirage" of control and "perfect self" or imago. Conversely, this imago has "the effect in man of an organic insufficiency in his natural reality"; it creates a permanent sense of being imperfect, but looking forward to perfection.

This quote refers to the use of a mirror by a child, leading them to see the mirrored image of themselves as the 'ideal', and therefore pushing them to strive for an ideal which in a way, has already been achieved. This 'perfect self' mentioned in the quote above is similar to the ideal that children strive to achieve after first seeing their own reflection in the mirror, however at such an age, they are in no place to control their own body and it's developments yet anyway, leaving them unable to change their appearances. This takes place between he ages of approximately 6 and 18 months.

Jacques Lacan: ' The split between the eye and the gaze" (1964) In the Four Fundamental Concepts of Psychoanalogy.

Jacques Lacan derives the concept of the split by recasting central Freudian concepts such as unconsciousness and the compulsion to repeat.
The gaze alienates subjects from themselves by causing the subject to identify with itself as the objet a , the object of the drives, thus desiring scopic satisfaction. Yet, in constructing the human subject as this objet a , the gaze denies the subject its full subjectivity. The subject is reduced to being the object of desire and, in identifying with this object, it becomes alienated from itself.

Here, Jacque Lacan's theory explains how 'the gaze alienates a subject from themselves by causing the subject to identify with itself as the object...thus desiring scopic satisfaction.' This is easily relatable to the two magazines that I have analysed (or any magazine) in which female models are used to advertise a product. In using females to present a product in an attractive and desirable manner, the models will become...