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Role of Media in the Modern Society Essay (Critical Writing)

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Updated: May 10th, 2020

Stuart Hall, Professor of Sociology at the Open University in England, has examined the role of media in the modern society for the last three decades. He started his research with the central concept of representation. Despite the fact that the general meaning of this concept means whether the depictions of something is accurate, Stuart Hall argued that the concept of representation plays an active role that is related to the ways various people think about the world they live in. He explains that one image can bear various meanings, and there is no certainty that it will work the same way we intended them to work.

According to Hall, media plays a major role in the every-day life of the modern society. He stated that communication is linked to the concept of power and to the influential groups that can decide what items get represented to the public through media. Thus, power and knowledge are the concepts that intersect in the everyday world (Jhally 3).

In order to examine the intersection of power and knowledge, it is crucial to conduct the image interrogation. Image interrogation means asking complicated questions about the suspected image. The same way detective interrogates the suspect, the same way a person can examine and interrogate an image under question.

Le Bron Vogue Cover VS King Kong (“LeBron and Giselle Vogue Cover”).
Fig. 1. Le Bron Vogue Cover VS King Kong (“LeBron and Giselle Vogue Cover”).

The image of the 2008 Vogue cover (Figure 1) that shows the famous basketball player LeBron James with and the Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen is probably one of the most controversial images when it comes to the concept of representation. On one hand, if an avid basketball fan looks at the image, he or she will think that LeBron is a professional player that can drive the lane at the same time as capturing the hearts of gorgeous supermodels. On the other hand, if a movie fan looks at this Vogue cover, then he or she will see some vague resemblance to the 1933 King Kong poster. However, the comparison of an African American man to a gorilla is one of the ‘red flag’ topics that is best to be avoided in our modern society.

Some may say that this cover is innocent and has no hidden meaning, but it is very hard to believe. Vogue is one of the most influential magazines in the world that chooses its covers very carefully. However, this does not mean that the Vogue editors are racist this simply means that this cover was chosen to create some buzz around an image that can be considered slightly controversial. Because of the long history of Vogue development, choosing covers is something that is very thought-through and is never rushed. Thus, according to magazine analyst Samir Husni, “when you have a cover that reminds people of King Kong and brings those stereotypes to the front, black man wanting the white woman, it’s not innocent” (qtd. in Scott 10).

Thus, the concept of representation is closely linked to the media and to those who have power over what is being presented through the means of media. Moreover, the concept of representation is able to create connections between the meaning of a certain object and the culture. Any object can bear various meanings for various individuals thus creating connections and having an influence on the individual’s perception of the world.

Works Cited

Jhally, Sut. 1997. Web.

Scott, Megan. LeBron James Vogue Cover Criticized for “Perpetuating Racial Stereotypes”. 2011. Web.

“LeBron and Giselle Vogue Cover” n.d. Web.

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