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Representation

Representation
Gauntlett’s Theory of Identity
oLooks at media, gender and self-identity
oExplains how we create our own identity through the use of media
oE.g. what we post on Instagram
oHow we appear online is not a realistic representation of ourselves but
it's how we want to be viewed
oImportant part of the theory is the idea that the media provides us with
resources in the form of stories
oHow does this apply to Zoella?
oThis idea of sharing media as stories is evident through her blog- by
sharing personal stories online she is imposing meaning on the things
her audience experiences in their own day-to-day lives
oThe audience uses the narrative they see on her blog to frame their own
experiences and bring order to the things that occurs in their own lives
Hall’s Theory of Representation
• The idea that representation is the production of meaning through language, with language defined in its broadest
sense as a system of signs
• The idea that the relationship between concepts and signs is governed by codes
• The idea that stereotyping, as a form of representation, reduces people to a few simple characteristics or traits
• The idea that stereotyping tends to occur where there are inequalities of power, as subordinate or excluded groups
are constructed as different or ‘other’ (e.g. through ethnocentrism)..
o How does this apply to Zoella?
o A key part is the idea of self-representation
o Although Zoella comes across as authentic, everything she posts she choose to, online media has allowed her the
resources to represent herself in the way she wants to be seen
o This is one of the key differences between traditional media and online media- the content creator has the power to
choose how they represent themselves
o Zoella acts as her own gatekeeper (someone that filters the content that is produced)
o Another key element of this self-representation is the representation of gender
o Zoella’s content tends to reinforce the female stereotype through her love for makeup, fashion and the use of soft,
pastel colours on her blog
o Her blog acts very similarly to the role traditionally performed by girls’ magazines
o Arguably, her use of makeup teaches young girls that they need to wear it, especially if they look up to her as a role
model they are likely to follow the example she is setting
o The sponsorships Zoella often does with the beauty industry once again presents her blog as something similar to the
magazines young girls used to grow up with
Gilroy’s Theory of Post-colonialism
• The idea that colonial discourses continue to inform contemporary attitudes to race and
ethnicity in the postcolonial era
• The idea that civilisationism constructs racial hierarchies and sets up binary oppositions
based on notions of otherness
o How does this apply to Zoella?
o Zoella’s content features mostly if not all white people
o The representation she offers reflects the dominant norms and values of society from
where she is from
o This means her content is lacking representation however unlike a traditional media text
she cannot employ or use photos of other ethnicities
o Zoella’s audience comes from all around the world, therefore the norms for the audience
members change depending on culture
o Some may see this lack of representation as normal whilst others may be very offended as
she does not reflect their culture and where they are from
o This links back to the self-representation, Zoella presents what is in her life and many of
the people that look up to her will try and reciprocate what they see, therefore she is
normalising this lack of representation supporting Gilroy’s theory and bell hook’s theory
Butler’s Theory of Gender Performativity
oThe idea that identity is performativity constructed by the
very ‘expressions’ that are said to be its results (it is
manufactured through a set of acts)
oThe idea that there is no gender identity behind the
expressions of gender
oThe idea that performativity is not a singular act, but a
repetition and a ritual
oHow does this apply to Zoella?
oButler’s theory suggests that the performativity often has to
do with the repetition of the gender norms
oThis is shown through Zoella’s blog where she reinforces
gender norms