How Does Law And Order Svu Portray Women Media Essay


In the abstract, you must ( 1 ) present the job of the thesis/dissertation, ( 2 ) discourse the stuffs and methods used, and ( 3 ) province the decisions reached. Individual chapters should non hold abstracts. Note that this should be the first numbered page: it is page four ; pages i, two and three ( copyright, signature page and abstract signature page ) were counted but non numbered. If you look in front, you will see that totaling up to the first page of text is in Roman numbers. On the first page of Introduction or Chapter One, get down totaling at Arabic figure 1. This enumeration ( 1, 2, 3, 4aˆ¦ ) is back-to-back through the remainder of the papers.


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1. Introduction

This survey examines the representation of adult females on Television which is one of the most litigious subjects environing the medium and is strongly dissected in this twenty-four hours and age. I will be carry oning my research specifically on portraiture of adult females in “ Law and Order: Particular Victims Unit. ” The scrutiny should uncover whether the word picture of female characters on Law and Order is positive or negative.

1.1 Womans On Television

Joseph ( 2004 ) argues that adult females were underrepresented on web dramatic shows in 1950s to the seventiess and when they did look, they were often seen in item or stereotyped functions. Although representation of adult females have changed greatly in the last two decennaries as we are come oning into a more modern-day society, the inquiry is, has it truly changed modern representations of adult females or it simply replicates gender stereotypes ( Dobash et al. 1998 ) . In recent old ages, “ Xena Warrior Princess ” and “ Buffy The Vampire Slayer ” pioneered the strong prima female characters in phantasy genre. Magoulick ( 2006 ) elucidates the positive reappraisals of Xena and Buffy demonstrate the extent to which these adult females characters resonate with female viewing audiences hankering for strong function theoretical accounts, or even merely strong female functions on telecasting. However, these characters were based in phantasy and scientific discipline fiction genre. Still, programmes like Cagney and Lacey, Cats Eyes and Juliet Bravo paved the manner for future strong female characters which were popular police/detective play picturing strong adult females.

1.2 Law & A ; Order: Particular Victims Unit

Presently in its 13th season, Law and Order: SVU foremost aired in 1999. The investigators on the squad work out sexually motivated offenses and kid maltreatment instances, which includes an exceptionally strong female lead character Olivia Benson ( Mariska Hargitay ) and other popular female characters such as Amanda Rollins ( Kelli Giddish ) , Assistant District Attorney Alexandra Cabot ( Stephanie March ) and Assistant District Attorney Casey Novak ( Diane Neal ) . Law & A ; Order: Particular Victims Unit offers a alone blend of features placed within a masculine investigator genre with strong chief female lead along with a male spouse, DetectiveA Elliot Stabler portrayed by Christopher Meloni. The episodes frequently feature existent life offense narratives and make episodes based on offense narratives “ ripped from the headlines ” ( Green 2009, pp.2 ) . Law & A ; Order: Particular Victims Unit is one of the most successful and popular spin off series of “ Law and Order ” franchise which has won many awards every bit good as the 2006 Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for Mariska Hargitay ( Emmys, 2006 ) who describes female audience ‘s reaction to her character “ Olivia Benson ” in Green ‘s book “ Law & A ; Order: Particular Victims Unit of measurement: The Unofficial Companion ” :

“ As the show got more popular, I received so many electronic mails from so many subsisters. They were placing so much with my character, placing with this king of beasts, this strong powerful ( Olivia Benson ) . And so I had thirteen-years-old traveling, ‘I want to be you ; you are my function theoretical account. ‘ Hundreds of electronic mails traveling, ‘ I want to be a bull when I grow up. ‘ And I thought this character has touched something deep in so many adult females and provided a safe topographic point to goaˆ¦ I felt I had a duty. ”

( Green 2009, pp. 90 )

1.3 Relevance Of The Research

Women representation on telecasting has important value to female audiences because they view strong characters as function theoretical accounts. Singh, Vinnicombe and James ( 2006 ) studied career-minded adult females who keenly draw on function theoretical accounts from different facets of like, telecasting being one of them. They discovered that adult females used female characters from Television as function theoretical accounts such as Buffy, Alias and Xena: The Warrior Princesss. Analyzing this facet of female characters on “ Law & A ; Order: Particular Victims Unit ” will supply me with the tools to analyze the codifications used in the portraiture of adult females.

Research has been conducted on Law and Order: Particular Victims Unit in the past i.e cultural minorities, victimization of adult females. For illustration Britto ( 2007, p40 ) has deconstructed that portraiture of adult females are overplayed on offense play series as wrongdoers and victims with the aid of content analysis in her article “ Does “ Particular ” Mean Young, White and Female? Deconstructing the Meaning of Special in Law & A ; Order: Particular Victims Unit. ” Furthermore, there has been extended research on representation of cultural minorities, male and female on Law and Order: Particular Victims Unit. However, my research will concentrate on the female characters such as Olivia Benson ( Mariska Hargitay ) , Amanda Rollins ( Kelli Giddish ) , Assistant District Attorney Alexandra Cabot ( Stephanie March ) and Assistant District Attorney Casey Novak ( Diane Neal ) and deconstruct the codifications employed to qualify them.

2. Literature Reappraisal

Theoretical model will direct my research in a focal point mode whilst easing a proficient and comprehensive analysis. It will supply a major foundation for my probe. As “ representation of adult females ” is such a diverse subject, I will concentrate and restrict my research with the aid of theoretical model to accomplish an accurate decision.

2.1 Representation Of Women On Television

In order to construct my research, the history of adult females representation would greatly help in my probe. Consequently, D’Acci ‘s ( 1994 ) punctilious geographic expedition of Cagney and Lacey, which aired from 1981 to 1988 and widely recognized as an advanced intervention of working adult females would supply the perfect basis for the probe. While researching this book, D’Acci had unprecedented entree to the set, to production meetings, and to the complete production files, including correspondence from web executives, promotion houses, and 1000s of viewing audiences. In this book she examines the development of adult females characters and the representation of feminism on prime-time telecasting. This would supply me thorough cognition of what goes behind doing a play series with female lead characters and will fit me with the right tools to compare the representation of female characters on Law and Order: SVU. Furthermore, it contains other illustration from the history of American telecasting which would be good for my research. Brunsdon, Charlotte and Spigel ‘s ( 2007 ) book “ Feminist Television Criticism: A Reader ” provides a elaborate scrutiny widening across telecasting, media and screen surveies which looks into representation of feminism as historical classs and political individualities. This book gives a valuable analysis of adult females working behind the camera and in-front of the camera every bit good as female audience and their response to telecasting in their day-to-day lives. I would be able to measure the word picture of adult females on Law & A ; Order: SVU in respects to historical and political point of view.

The representation of females on the telecasting screen has been a topic of much treatment since the telecasting became commercially available in the late thirtiess. In twenty-first Century, even though telecasting produces plans like Pan Am, Charlie ‘s angels, The Playboy Club with female lead characters, they are still viewed through a really patriarchal political orientation ( Ingham, 2007 ) . Dominick ‘s ( 1979 ) article “ The portraiture of adult females in premier clip, 1953-1977 ” concludes that female characters looking on prime-time telecasting from 1953-1977 were underrepresented on telecasting and were often seen in stereotypic functions. This article will assist me puting the basis for my research as I can set female characters on Law and Order: SVU side by side with old characters. Further research ( Elasmar, Kazumi and Brain, 2009 ) showed that adult females were more likely to be shown playing minor functions and playing characters of homemakers and involved in a romantic relationship. I would necessitate to foster research the deepness of adult females representation on telecasting which will let me to carry on expert research.

Gill ‘s ( 2007 ) work on “ Gender and Media ” looks like an interesting book for my research which explores the contradictory character of modern-day gender representations. Gender and the MediaA is besides concerned with the theoretical tools available for analysing representations. A scope of attacks from semiologies to postcolonial theory are discussed, and Gill asks how utile impressions such as objectification, recoil, and positive images are for doing sense of gender in today ‘s Western media which relates to my current survey.

Melanie ( 2011 ) cross-examines the building of feminism and muliebrity in film and telecasting from a broad assortment of female centric plans such as biddy flicks, world shows and play. This book will supply me with the apprehension of the relationship between feminism, muliebrity, and ocular civilization and tools to analyse images of female representation in media.

2.1.1. Narrative – Writing The Woman

In order to associate characters and peak involvement of the audience, preparation of the character through narrative is of extreme importance. The character and narrative in the text have an emotional connexion and resonate with the reader if they identify with the character. Hence, analysis of female representation in Law and Order SVU through their word picture in the narrative would let me to deconstruct the marks from the text. Furthermore, specific aesthetic and narrative schemes used by the manufacturers to make characters besides append to feminism and female representation ( Geetha, 2007 ) . Mulvey ‘s ( 1975 ) groundbreaking article ‘Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema ‘ would greatly help in researching the relation of narrative construction in building of female characters in Law and Order: SVU where she unravels the narrative and ocular techniques in film and puts frontward the male cinematic regard that objectifies the female character, hence, turning her into a spectacle, ‘to-be-looked-at-ness ‘ ( 1975, 19 ) . Mulvey ( 2009 ) revisits her theory in ‘Visual and Other Pleassure ‘ by using her women’s rightist theory to more modern-day work refering movie spectatorship.A She besides talks about ‘young modern adult female ‘ of the 1920s in footings of images and narrations employed in Hollywood and European movies which will be relevant to measure portraiture of adult females in Law and Order: SVU.

In respects to narrative and adult females representation in media, Teresa de Lauretis ‘s ( 1984 ) work would ease my research in the right way as she investigates the structural representations of adult female in film. De Lauretis ( 1984 ) disagrees with Mulvey ‘s ( 1975 ) theory of adult females representation as being for good subjective and affirms that it is in a consistent phase of self-progression. De Lauretis believes that narrative construction draws upon the character ‘s aspiration in societal and cultural context and reproduces subjectiveness. De Lauretis argues that female characters are formulated to tend towards muliebrity and conventionally portrayed as ‘ideal image ‘ perceived by work forces ( 1984, 143 ) . De Lauretis ‘s decision of adult females ‘s subjugation by using techniques of cinematic narrative would supply a diverse position in representation of adult females in Law and Order: SVU.

2.2 Women & A ; Crime Genre

The features of gender have been reallocated in modern epoch in offense play where the female and male personalities are synthesized. The transmutation besides saw the displacement of feminine traits of ’emotions, compassion and bond ‘ between traditionally masculine traits of ‘heroism, energy, and power ‘ giving rise to “ alternate action hero ” ( Feasey 2008, p. 67 ) . In 1970s and 1980s, offense genre increasingly began picturing adult females in important characters shiping on Television revolution. Snauffer’sA ( 2006 ) book called “ Crime Television ” would help in my research enormously as it would be idyllic to happen out the history of offense genre as it was dominated by work forces ( Maureen 1988, p. 2 ) . Since the beginning of telecasting, offense play have been a premier genre of Television. Harmonizing to Snauffer ( 2006 ) , offense telecasting has proven to be a absorbing contemplation of alterations and developments in the civilization at big. In the ’50s and early ’60s, the square-jawed, just-the-facts investigators of The Untouchables and The FBI put constabularies work in the best visible radiation possible. As the ’60s gave manner to the ’70s, nevertheless, the word pictures gained more elusive shading, and The Streets of San Francisco, The Rockford Files, and Baretta offered conflicted heroes in more complex universes. This tendency has of class continued in more recent decennaries, with Steven Bochco ‘s play seeking a new pragmatism through blunt word pictures of linguistic communication and gender on telecasting. In chronicling these developments and exemplifying how the genre has reflected our thoughts of offense and offense work outing through the decennaries, writer Douglas Snauffer here provides indispensable reading for any fan. This work provides a comprehensive history of investigator and constabulary shows on telecasting which will lend to my research vastly. Turnbull ( 2013 ) in her book ‘The Crime Drama: Television Genres ‘ provides a historical survey of the offense play series as a genre which presents a figure of instance surveies to clear up major concerns in the class of the genre. This book will ease my statement as it looks at female led offense play series from around the universe such as The Wire and The Killing.

Crime play by and large feature capable affair related to public sphere with male laterality, nevertheless, the add-on of female characters into offense genre has enabled to prosecute a dynamic attack refering gender bending evildoings, domestic issues and other women’s rightist concerns ( Feasey 2008 ) . Nevertheless, adult females were n’t ever depicted as strong willed and independent on Television. Cavender ( 1999 ) examines the word picture of adult females offense victims by comparing episodes from world offense plan. He analyzed that adult females talked about their victimization ; nevertheless, work forces spoke more frequently and presented maestro narrations about the offenses. In both seasons, the plan imagination emphasized feminine exposure to force from strange, oblique, and barbarous work forces and masculine proficient expertness and authorization as adult females ‘s protection from such force. His analysis would be helpful in farther analyzing the offense genre every bit good as engagement of adult females. Humphries ( 2009 ) examines adult females, force, and media presentations through the lens of feminist criminology. This book contains chapters on “ Gendering Constructions ” which lays the foundation for the volume and examines media presentation of gendered force, female slayers on Law and Order and adult females in media. This book will give me tools to analyse the media text meticulously.

In offense genre, male supporter used to concentrate on work outing the offense pretermiting the public concerns during the procedure. Though, attitudes started to alter when adult females were portrayed unconventionally as brave, independent and intelligent characters interrupting off from the social norm ensuing in determining a new women’s rightist original ( Aisenberg, 1994 ) . In her book ‘Ordinary heroines: Transforming the male myth ‘ Aisenberg ( 1994, p. 240 ) believes that female representation has progressed into equal active crime-solving characters with little adoption from conventional masculine traits such as Dana Scully ‘s ( Gillian Anderson ) character in ‘The X Files ‘ who was a powerful and independent professional adult female even though FBI agent functions were deeply male-dominated.

Cuklanz and Moorti ( 2009 ) analyze a broad assortment of text to dig into the representations of gendered force against adult females and preparation of gender. They believe that Law and Order SVU having lead female characters engage in stereotyped representation of adult females showcasing force against them including built-in woman hater communique . Cavender and Jurik ( 2012 ) inspect the optimistic side of representation of adult females on Television as they analyse ‘Prime Suspect ‘ starring Helen Mirren as policewoman Jane Tennison in popular British play series where her ‘character disrupts the conventions of the traditionally male genre ‘ ( p.65 ) . They focus on the portraiture of gender and jurisprudence enforcement in the show having modern societal trials where adult females play the cardinal character. On one manus, ‘Prime Suspect ‘ has become a cult hit for being an exceptionally feminist show in a traditionally male dominated offense genre. On the other manus, it is still non devoid of gender political relations where Tennison ‘s character shown as a successful adult female is pigeonholed into an old lonely and outcast calling adult female. Cavender and Jurik ( 2012 ) work will supply the model to deconstruct the significances and intension in word picture of adult females in Law and Order: SVU in dealingss to societal norm.

There has been a dramatic rise in representation of adult females detective in modern text whether be movie or telecasting which used to be dominated by work forces ( Mizejewski, 2004 ) . Whilst analyzing Jodie Foster ‘s character Clarice on ‘The Silence Of The Lambs ‘ , Mizejewski believes that “ traditional Hollywood film has been unconsciously organized along these lines: work forces looking and taking action, adult females being looked at. The conventions of framing, illuming and redacting in portraiture of adult females all play to these kineticss ” ( p. 7 ) . Tasker ( 2007 ) believes adult females representation has progressed enormously in recent old ages with transformed and sceptered gender equalitarianism ; nevertheless, there is still deficient issue. ‘Gender is a cardinal builder and discriminator of character in ensemble workplace play ‘ ( Allen 2007, p 48 ) . The punctilious scrutiny of Crime Scene Investigation ( CSI ) in ‘Reading CSI ‘ by Michael Allen, a popular offense play including the relationship of characters to their narrations and response of fans would supply great deepness and widespread position which I can use to Law and Order: SVU during my research.

1.3 Female Heroine

Gunter ( 1986 ) argues that adult females are represented in a stereotyped mode tie ining with the character ‘s traits they typically exhibit. In comparing with work forces, their characters were subjugated by personal relationships and household issues. However, this began to alter in the 1970s when adult females were portrayed in more dynamic functions. Knight ( 2010 ) believes that it would n’t hold been possible without Sigourney Weaver ‘s character Ellen Ripley in Alien ( 1979 ) franchises which has become an daring symbol. Ellen Ripley signified the first concluding miss original, a term coined by Carol J. Clover in the book ‘Men, Women and Chansaw: Gender in the Modern Horror Film ‘ ( 1992 ) , who conquered and triumphed against an evil scoundrel “ without any aid or deliverance from a adult male ” ( p.98 ) . Knight ( 2010 ) and Clover ( 1992 ) scrutinies of adult females representation would help in decrypting the marks in Law and Order: SVU. Anthony ( 2009 ) believes that the patterned advance in adult females portrayal on telecasting and movies was because adult females had taken over the market and were able to get places as Manufacturers and Directors. Consequently, adult females were portrayed in more heroic functions which cancelled out the impression of adult females as victims, ensuing in a positive ideological progress ” ( p. 80 ) .

Inness ‘s ( 2004 ) “ Action Chicks ” A is a groundbreaking aggregation of essays supplying a new expression at female action icons such as Xena, Buffy, Lara Croft and so on. These essays take a expression at how recent word pictures of adult females in action movies, Television shows, amusing books, and video games reflect a altering credence of adult females in traditionally male heroic or tough-guy functions. This extremely specialised and scholarly survey is suited for my research and would enable me to see Law and Order: SVU in different visible radiation. In order to analyse the representation of adult females in Law and Order: SVU, I will interpret if the adult females embody four indispensable constructing characteristics which are organic structure, attitude, action and authorization in a tough hero ( Innes, 1998 ) . Brown ( 1996 ) has the same belief of adult females portrayed as action heroes saying, “ female action heroine ‘s organic structure is represented by utilizing same codifications as a male hero in respects to object and subject in action movies ” ( p. 56 ) . Goodwill ( 2011 ) A agrees with Brown ‘s statement that new female action hero possesses positive “ masculine ” characteristic which were preserved for work forces merely, interrupting off from Orthodox “ feminine ” properties. With the merger of traits, earlier original of the hero has been amended in popular civilization incorporating both masculine and feminine traits which will enable me to construe female traits presented in Law and Order: SVU.

Hill ( 1999, p 38 ) provinces, ‘action heroines are the new type of supporters in action genre who are smarter and tougher than conventional female heroines and even their male opposite numbers ‘ . This new strain of action heroines contravenes non merely cinematic but cultural gender codifications of adult females being submissive and digressive characters and transform traditional cinematic word picture of adult females. Noble ( 1999 ) produces an advanced model to make new prototype of gallantry for adult females in her book “ The Sound of a Silver Horn: Reclaiming the Heroism in Contemporary Women ‘s Lifes ” . She puts frontward certain qualities that a female hero should possess to transform her and the universe such as strong-willed, valorous and a risk-taker. Harris ‘s ( 2004 ) groundbreaking work would supply a model for my research where she looks at intricate representation of misss in recent history. Siehlohr ‘s ( 2000 ) anthology investigates generic codifications used in gender in respects to national individuality in European movies. She besides examines how representations of adult females are effected by peculiar national surroundings. This provides a baseline to look into influences of social factors on representation of adult females in Law and Order: SVU. Hanson ( 2007 ) proposes alternate ways of sing authoritative and modern-day Hollywood heroines and the associations of gender with genre. She investigates representation of adult females as research worker and heroine in the variable context of the movie industry which will enable me to use the same attack to my research. She confers punctilious attending to the production of narrative, actions and perceptual experience every bit good as dialogue of feminine ego and desires across the yesteryear.

Jacey ‘s ( 2010 ) book about “ The Woman in the Narrative: Writing Memorable Female Characters ” would be of important value on this subject. She states that by making a heroine, the film writer has to see all sorts of differences, from character development to gender issues in the development procedure. This would let me dig deeper into the word picture of female characters on Law and Order: SVU such as Olivia Benson ‘s character as a Detective and Alexandra Cabot character as a District Attorney. Harmonizing to Knight ( 2010 ) , female action heroes extensively influence persons in society and besides uncover a batch about our society. Her analysis on female action here would assist me understand Olivia Benson ‘s character on Law and Order: SVU as she is seen as a function theoretical account and a ace heroine to a batch of adult females.

Furthermore, I will analyze BuffyA which was a really popular show with really crisp and provocative commentaries on gender. InA Undead Television, media surveies bookmans tackle theA BuffyA phenomenon and its many afterlives in popular civilization, the telecasting industry, the Internet, and academic unfavorable judgment ( Levine and Parks, 2007 ) . Stuller ( 2010 ) illustrates the victory of female hero in modern-day mythology which has cracked through male dominated environment and divulges into the important function of female offense combatants in popular civilization.


Litosseliti ( 2002 ) book on “ Gender, Identity and Discourse Analysis ” will supply me with the tools to use discourse analysis to the media text for my research. I will carry on a discourse analysis on Law and Order: SVU to happen out why Olivia Benson is considered a positive function theoretical account. Benson has been taken up as a feminist icon by creative persons and bloggers because she ‘s the type of individual who triumphs over hardship, stands up against unfairness, and ne’er water chickweeds when she ‘s gazing down a bad cat. Furthermore, it will help me in analyzing other female characters re-presented as victims and felons. Research has shown that force against adult females is a serious public wellness and homo rights concern ( World Health Organization 2000 ) and that the coincident presentation of adult females as sex objects and victims in assorted signifiers of media additions credence of force against adult females ( Malamuth, 1996 ) . As telecasting has the widest audience of any medium ( Gunter & A ; Wober, 1992 ) , it is of extreme importance to hold an improved representation of adult females on telecasting.

I will pull chiefly upon the discourse analysis of Law and Order: SVU to analyze the significances behind the representations of adult females as victims to more positive and hopeful word pictures. Marion ( 2008 ) argues that the modern-day portraitures of adult females within popular civilization are shaped by two major tendencies: the mainstreaming of erotica and its attendant hypersexualization of adult females and misss, and the commodification of those images for a planetary market. Wood ( 2000 ) book will supply both the practical stairss for making discourse analysis and the theoretical justifications for those stairss. This book shows pupils how the societal universe revolves around talk and text. This book will help in my research a great trade as it presents existent illustrations, screens data aggregation methods and schemes for informations analysis, and addresses issues of dependability and cogency.

Tolson ‘s ( 2006 ) book “ Media Talk: Spoken Discourse on Television and Radio ” investigates typical signifiers of mediated address on Television and wireless through discourse analysis. Media Talk is the first book to supply a comprehensive reappraisal of this of import work. Lorenzo-Dus ‘s ( 2008 ) “ Television Discourse ” examines the specific signifiers and constructions of talk across media genres. This book will supply me an in-depth cognition of the discourse analysis on Television as itA examines four specifying features of the current broadcast landscape: Storytelling, Closeness, Conflict and Persuasion. This would let me to analyze the characters on Law and Order: SVU and happen out if they are portrayed positively or negatively. Even though the adult females on L & A ; O: SVU are tough and strong, there are still some debatable issues in their representation. They are re-presented as victims or wrongdoers in a batch of episodes. For illustration, Detective Olivia Benson is often victimized throughout the show, including her being stalked in Seasons 1 and 3, and more late she is sexually assaulted while undercover in a prison. Furthermore, there were several suggestions in episodes on how the female investigator pays a batch of attending to her visual aspect. An in-depth research would let a more precise and comprehensive probe on the subject.

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