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What are the Effects of Representation and Self-regulation in the Media in Respect to Gender and Sexuality?

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Introduction
Media in its numerous forms is an endemic part of modern life. We are continually exposed to media texts and their representations of gender and sexuality. In recent years, there has been an increasing interest in how these representations affect our perceptions of gender and sexuality. Initially I will define what is meant by representation and self-regulation in a media context. Secondly, I will examine debates around these issues including self-identity & role models, privacy & public interest and censorship & freedom of speech. To support this I will analyse three case studies to illustrate how media texts are produced and consumed and what effect this has on the representation of gender and sexuality.
Defining terms
Representation or ‘re-presentation’ is the understanding that media texts are constructed and presented to the audience. The construction of the message allows the audience to make assumptions on the intended meaning of the media text. It is understood that producers of texts can influence the preferred messages to suit their own agenda. The difference between the media representation and what is the real meaning is a fundamental element in the study of the media effects on society.
Self-regulation is the regulation of media from within the industry opposed to that which is prescribed by external bodies. Self-regulation concerns the structure, conduct or content of media and its producers. Those in favour of regulation cite it as an important factor in encouraging and maintaining professional standards in the industry (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), 2008). However there are also concerns that the effects of media regulation could be construed as impacting on freedom of ex...


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