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Last updated: Sunday, April 15, 2018 12:03 PM

Our ATTITUDES are the manifestation of our VALUES, expressed or shown through what we say and do.

Our VALUES make us accept certain things and reject others. How we act and what we say represents our ATTITUDES - i.e. our VALUES made manifest. 

(NOTE: Do not talk aout attitudesandvalues or valuesandattitudes as one and the same thing. Effective responses will differentiate between these terms and expand with appropriate examples.)


Values make up a group's belief system. This belief system is made up of a socially and culturally constructed set of value that have developed and will continue to develop over time. These exist for society to operate with the least amount of conflict.

Values determine what people in a community commonly accept as good or right. While we may have our own personally thought-out and constructed set of values, the majority of those values we accept are socially and culturally constructed. (See Our values, the things we believe are good/bad, right/wrong, acceptable/unacceptable etc have become naturalised and normalised to us. Society develops a value system or a set of values and conveys these to us through the family, schools, governments, religious institutions, the media, and so forth. Nationalities often have different or differing values based on their particular religious or cutural beliefs. 


Attitudes are how our values are manifested in our actions and thoughts; they are our feelings towards certain ideas or issues. Attitudes dictate how we react in particular situations. Authors and creators of texts reveal certain attitudes within their texts and convey these through the use of specific language, (written, visual, spoken, music, movement, design etc) to position audiences to accept their ideas and their attitudes towards them. As readers or viewers we need to be aware that texts seek to position us to accept certain attitudes and ways of looking at the world. We need to be be critically aware and prepared to question the ideas and values upon which any views about the world are based. (Avoid discussing a text creator's attitudes as either positive or negative towards some value! Don't be lazy; identify what it is they think and/or feel.)


It is essential when considering the values and attitudes of any text to be aware of the context or surrounding circumstances. These may include personal, social, cultural, economic, political, historical and geographical factors. How anything is perceived depends on where it is perceived or seen from. Being aware of context is to be aware of

  • the reader's attitudes and values;
  • the author's attitudes and values;
  • the attitudes and values in which the text is set (where, when).


Ideology is a belief system that consists of certain values and attitudes. It is a collective view of the world. It may be secular and/or religious. Ideology unconsciously determines our 'way of seeing', creates values and set standards that guide our attitudes.

Another definition: ideology is a system of assumptions by which a society operates, and which permeates everything it produces, including literature.


Assumptions are all the things or 'ways of seeing' that we take for granted. They are naturally assumed to be true and become part of how we look at the world. However it is important to remember that these assumptions are socially constructed. We become so used to hearing them and taking them for granted that they give the appearance of truth or fact.


Issues are areas of conflict which concern a particular group. - something controversial within a neighbourhood, state, country or international community. Examples may include include litter, sexual discrimination, migration, global warming. An issue can often arise as a consequence of a clash between diffferent sets of VALUES, ATTITUDES and/or IDEOLOGIES.


View Dua Lipa's music video clip*

(*Warning, this clip contains language which may be offensive to some.)

See for lyrics and brief comments by Dua Lipa.

  1. What is Lipa's attitude towards her ex? (Hint: it is in the title! Put this into your own words).
  2. What has he done or not done to make her feel this way?
  3. What is good or bad/positive or negative/right or wrong about this?
  4. The answer to the above should be something about what Lipa values. What is it then that she values; what behaviours or ways of acting are important in this case in a relationship?
  5. What strong, positive values about girls/women are being represented in this clip?

Attitudes are not the same as values although they are based on them.

See the clip (voted number one film quote of all time in 2005) from the film "Gone With the Wind" in which the actor Clarke Gable as Rhett Butler tells Vivian Lee as Scarlett O'Hara that he doesn't care after she asks where she is going to go and what she is going to do. He has been vainly seeking her love for many years. The use of the word 'damn', especially to a woman, was the subject of some controversy at the time (1939).

Production code conflict[edit]

Prior to the film's release, censors objected to the use of the word "damn" in the film, a word that had been prohibited by the 1930 Motion Picture Production Code, beginning in July 1934. However, before 1930 the word "damn" had been relatively common in films. In the silent era, John Gilbert even shouted "Goddamn you!" to the enemy during battle in The Big Parade (1925). The Production Code was ratified on March 31, 1930, and was effective for motion pictures whose filming began afterward. Thus, talkies that used "damn" include Glorifying the American Girl (1929), Flight (1929), Gold Diggers of Broadway (1929), Hell's Angels (1930), The Big Trail (1930), The Dawn Patrol (1930), The Green Goddess (1930) and Dracula (1931). Although legend persists that the Hays Office fined producer David O. Selznick $5,000 for using the word "damn", in fact the MPPDA board passed an amendment to the Production Code a month and a half before the film's release, on November 1, 1939, that allowed use of the words "hell" or "damn" when their use "shall be essential and required for portrayal, in proper historical context, of any scene or dialogue based upon historical fact or folklore...or a quotation from a literary work, provided that no such use shall be permitted which is intrinsically objectionable or offends good taste".[2] With that amendment, the Production Code Administration had no further objection to Rhett's closing line. It is actually the second use of "damn" in the film. The term "damn Yankees" is heard in the parlor scene at Twelve Oaks.[3]

from Wikipedia:,_my_dear,_I_don%27t_give_a_damn

Clearly the expletive of the title IDGAF or its equivalent would not be used publically in many other cultures today. Indeed the context in which a word is used as well as the purpose of its use and the audience for whom it is intended influences meaning that is made.

  1. Has society's attitude to 'offensive language' changed? If so why or why not? (NB this will depend on the particular society one is considering.)
  2. If attitudes have changed, have values changed as well? In what way and why?


See also:

  1. Pat Rafter's attitudes
  2. The Big Soda
  3. Caitlin Jenner preaches acceptance
  4. Climate change
  5. Relative values - 'Sparrow's death shock a nation'
  6. Shooting an Elephant - George Orwell

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Feel free to access these resources for study purposes or classroom use. However where they have been directly dowloaded for distribution or copied and provided as notes, please acknowledge as a courtesy. John Watson