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Exam Marker Response - Gender Representation

Marker's Response to exam Question Yr 11 English 03 Sem 1 exam

What is gender representation?
Essential elements of our own identity, and the identities we assume other people to have, come from concepts of gender – ie what it means to be a boy or a girl / man or woman that are separate from biological differences.
The media in general, and advertising in particular, does not show us the real world. (Even reality TV and the likes of Big Brother represent males and females in certain ways via the candidates they choose to be on the program.) All programs, and in our case advertisements, re-present reality. In putting forward something that is not the “real thing”, the media transforms, distorts or re-processes the "reality" which they present to us.
In advertising, gender is represented in specific, often very stereotyped ways. Males and females are show to be certain types of people, possessing certain habits, values and practices.

Exam Answers
The exam question called upon candidates to
·        use a code analysis and any other techniques to explore how :
·        gender is represented in the provided advertisement,
·        gender representation is used to sell.

These are THREE distinct requirements
1.      Code analysis and other any techniques (AIDA is inferred)
2.      HOW gender is represented;
3.      HOW used to sell.

Major problems :
·        Candidates simply did not know or somehow misunderstood what was signified by “gender representation”. As a consequence they failed because they did not address the focus of the question. Gender representation is s specific term; you cannot just choose it to mean something that suits you on the day.
·        Candidates launched immediately into a code analysis, deconstructing every persuasive element of the advertisement, failing frequently to discus anything to do with gender, or providing only some token comment about gender appearing or being used in the advertisement. (The fact that women appear or are used in the advertisement is NOT gender representation.)
·        Very few candidates made any effort to define the terms of the question, explaining what they understood by the term gender representation, and how it is used to construct meaning and sell.
·        Candidates did not answer the question in the order in which it was asked. Far too many essays made no references to the question at all!
·        LIMITED ANALYSIS of gender representation in this advertisement was a common problem for those who were on the right track. You passed if you discussed GR with evidence from the advertisement, however the scope of your mark was limited unless you closely deconstructed its use.
·        Expression errors significant. If you cannot even copy correctly words used in the question, then you are asking for trouble from the marker. Similarly, commonly misspelled words must be mastered. Perfect spelling and punctuation is not expected. However, if your level of spelling, punctuation and grammar is poor, you are behind the eight-ball before any of your analysis is even considered. Obvious failure of many students to proof their work.
Strengths :
·        Many candidates wrote extensively, that is four or more pages. Quantity is not everything, but you are giving yourself more of a chance if you demonstrate close analysis by covering as much relevant ground in the maximum amount of detail possible. Most did do this.
·        Detailed visual analysis was excellent. Most candidates deconstructed the advertisement well in terms of the visual elements. Use of specific code language (close-up, body copy, symbolic codes, depth of field etc) was VERY limited in some cases. (* You are not expected to have a mastery of all this kind of terminology, however, you advantage yourself if you use the proper labels or terms.)
·        Some clever deconstruction. Close study of the photographs (or images if you like but NOT NOT NOT “pictures”) made for some great comments about construction of women and men. The little girl for example in the more “messy” and consequently less classy kitchen who is learning about her place in the world. The little boy not there may be presumed playing outside or fishing with his Dad doing “men’s things”.

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