Photographic Representation of Women in the Media - A Case Study of the Post

Deseni Soobben 1 *

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Abstract

The under-representation of women in the media has been contested by gender activists the world over (Carter & Steinder, 2004, p. 15). Studies have indicated that women are more likely to be portrayed on advertising bill-boards than as serious news sources. Therein lies the problem. Saturated by the media, visual representation becomes a means of how to make sense of the world. If women are continually portrayed in a narrow range of roles and particularly as second-class citizens, does that not shape one’s understanding of the world? More importantly, how do the women rise above that status? Being a photographer of Indian descent, the subject was of particular interest to the researcher. This paper examines the theories underpinning representation, in particular, identity, gender and the selection and production of photographs. Based on the above data, the Post, a national newspaper targeted at the South African Indian population, was selected as a case study. A select population of the staff at the Post was interviewed. The empirical research specifically examines the selection and production of photographs in the Post. Based on the literature and empirical data, the study maintains that there are many challenges facing the media, specifically relating to the visual representation of women. Based on the findings, the paper offers recommendations that may assist in improving techniques in the photographic process of composing, selecting and producing photographs in the Post.

Keywords

visual representation gender identity journalism

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Article Type: Research Article

Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies, Volume 3, Issue January 2013 - Special Issue, pp. 36-59

Published Online: 01 Jan 2013

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