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
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Our media-rich environment is an immense source of influence on these decisions which is the basis of our self-identity. (Aber.ac.uk, 2001) It is important to note how media texts construct their preferred meanings and what influence this has. Role models should also be considered because they are closely linked with self-identity. A role model is understood to be someone whom one ‘looks up to’ and shares your values and aspirations (Gauntlett, 2002). Gauntlett describes the six types of role model in his book ‘Media, Gender and Identity ’:
‘The ‘straightforward success’ role model: people who have been successful in their chosen field.
The ‘triumph over difficult circumstances’ role model: people who have overcome adversity to achieve success often become the most popular role models.
The ‘challenging stereotypes’ role model: female action heroes that counter the idea of ‘feminine’ women, and the idea that only men can fill tough leading roles.
The ‘wholesome’ role model: these are the ‘role models’ which older generations are comfortable with.
The ‘outsider’ role model: rejected by mainstream culture, the outsider role model is a hero to those who reject conventional social expectations.
The family role model: this
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