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"Summary of 'Representation, Reality and Popular Culture: Semiotics and the Construction of Meaning' by Christine Geraghty"
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Geraghty points out that the presentation of the image allows the audience to construct and attribute meaning to the photograph based on their own cultural, social and personal experience. While the audience takes on an ‘active role’ (Geraghty, 2005, p.51) in creating meaning, the intended meaning (that which is defined by the photographer or journalist) is almost forced upon the audience using specific techniques. In this case the picture is accompanied by written text and gives those responsible (the newspaper or journalist) the opportunity to lead the reader into the meaning that they want to communicate. As a result of this ‘guiding’ technique there is no room for speculation by the audience.
In Geraghty’s discussion of representation of gender she focuses on soap operas and the representation of women. Her argument for success in these representations is based on three points: that the representation should be realistic, that there should be a direct link between those in the real world and those being represented, and that the group being represented should be able to recognise themselves within the text (Geraghty, 2005, p.52). Representations of women in easily identifiable roles (as mothers for example) and in positions where they are masters of both the domestic world and of emotional trials and tribulations adds to the pleasurable viewing experience (Geraghty, 2005, p.54). Such representations however, can introduce the awareness to female viewers of their limited roles, as being only those associated with the domestic and emotions (Geraghty, 2005, p.54). This, as Geraghty points out, makes women ‘resistant’ (2005, p.54) to the representations in these texts.
Finally, Geraghty addresses factual entertainment and representations. This discussion focuses on media texts that use fiction to construct a text around a factional core. These highly constructed texts provide drama and
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