CI5472 Teaching Film, Television, and Media

 Module 5: Studying Media Representations

Module 5

What are Media Representations?

Media representations are the ways in which the media portrays particular groups, communities, experiences, ideas, or topics from a particular ideological or value perspective. Rather than examining media representations as simply reflecting or mirroring “reality,” we will be examining how media representations serve to “re-present” or to actually create a new reality.

For example, beer ads portray drinking beer as a primary component for having a party. SUV ads create the impression that driving an SUV as an exciting, outdoor adventure. And, perfume/cologne ads imply the using perfume/cologne makes one sexually appealing. These ads all create idealized experiences associated with the uses of these products, experiences that may not jive with alternative perspectives on these experiences:

Similarly, the Disney Corporation, one of the major producers of film and television, represents stories and fairy tales for children primarily in terms of White, Western, middle-class values. And, DisneyWorld/Disneyland creates artificial realities that represent different “worlds” — other “lands” in ways that sanitized and idealize any political, cultural, and ideological differences constituting the unique cultures of those worlds. For example, “Safari” boat trips represent Africa as a primitive jungle experience. Click here for a discussion of the role of Disney in constructing their own representations of different realities.

What are Media Representations?

Why Study Media Representations?

Studying Media Representations

Methods for Analyzing Media Representations

Representation and Censorship

Representations and Public Relations / Promotions

Studying Representations of Social Types or Groups




Masculinity and Sports


Gays / Lesbians


Racial and Ethnic Groups



Representations of Different Age Groups or Occupations



Instructional Activity


Teaching Activities

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