Media, Gender, and Identity: An Introduction

Media, Gender, and Identity: An Introduction

Media, Gender, and Identity: An Introduction

Media, Gender, and Identity: An Introduction

Synopsis

This is an accessible introduction to the relationship between media and gender identities today. David Gauntlett draws on recent theories of identity negotiation and queer theory to understand the place of popular media in people's lives.

Excerpt

Why explore the relationship between media, gender and identity? Media and communications are a central element of modern life, whilst gender and sexuality remain at the core of how we think about our identities. With the media containing so many images of women and men, and messages about men, women and sexuality today, it is highly unlikely that these ideas would have no impact on our own sense of identity. At the same time, though, it’s just as unlikely that the media has a direct and straightforward effect on its audiences. It’s unsatisfactory to just assume that people somehow copy or borrow their identities from the media. To complicate things further, we live in changing times. What we learned in the 1960s, 1970s or 1980s about media and gender might not be so relevant today, because the media has changed, and people’s attitudes have changed. The ‘role models’ of times gone by might be rather laughable and embarrassing now.

This book sets out to establish what messages the media sends to contemporary audiences about gender, and what the impact of those messages might be. We will consider some of the previous writings on media and identity, but rather than dwell on the same set of works that textbooks have covered in the past - a set of concepts and ideas which I will suggest are not always so helpful today - this book seeks to introduce the reader to particular social theorists (such as Anthony Giddens, Michel Foucault and Judith Butler) whose ideas about identity give us more to work with when considering the role of the media in the formation and negotiation of gender and sexual identities.

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