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Choose a visual media genre (such as adventure, drama, action, romance, horror, sci-fi/fantasy, etc), and analyse how they employ techniques such as the gaze/symbols/codes when producing meaning?

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The number of people is enjoying watching a movie regardless of sex or age. Movies are the most basic and popular part of visual media. At several decades, the film is commercialized and the public perceives it as a cultural activity. According to Karin (2004) reported that research on visual media culture is still one of the most sought after fields. In addition, genre refers to classifying movies according to an analogy plot, character, sound, theme, and mood with similarity. There are many kinds of them, such as melodic comedy, action, fantasy, horror, and more. The visual media genre is not fixed. It is constantly reproduced according to the trend of the times, the changes of society, the taste of the audience. Furthermore, there is some example of the visual media genre. There are techniques that can be classified as either female or male, such as the Tomb Raider or Terminator series. There are also techniques that show symbolic meanings or codes of each character in movie Batman and Action Hero movies. Therefore, this article will look at to use techniques such as gaze, symbol, and code to produce action, a genre of visual media. Also, arguing that based on a highly biased film that was extensively created.


Gaze is a well-used verb in the English language which means ‘to see'. Whenever ‘gaze' is mentioned in terms of visual communication or movies, it is actually meant ‘male gaze'. It is one of the chief concepts of Feminist film theory which was proposed by Laura Mulvey in 1975 (Rose, 2016). It is widely used in the cinema of different genres especially in the action movie genre consciously or unconsciously by the filmmaker. To gaze is implies more than just to look at an object. Gaze helps to signify the psychological relationship with power, in which the gazer holds a superior position to the object that is being gazed.

The male gaze is used in a visual medium to suggest an on-going sexual politics between the characters. The use of male gaze often visualizes as a way of looking in a very sexual manner. It shows the power of male and objectifies women as a wanted hetero-sexual element for men (masculine characters). The desires of the woman are irrelevant here as male gaze is typically associated with deep-rooted patriarchal values of society. In traditional Hollywood movies which are most of the time was dominated by male protagonists were full of male gaze visual representation.

However, some critics also suggest that there could be a ‘Female Gaze' in a movie (Karsay et al. 2018). It portrays the perspective of a female filmmaker or a female (feminine) character in a movie. It is must be noted that ‘male' and ‘female' both terms can be confusing if one perceives it as biological male and female. The term male and female here is denoting the feminine and masculine characteristics of human beings.

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The shot provided here is taken from 1955 film Seven Year Itch. In this shot, the positioning of Marilyn Monroe and the way the male character is looking at her typically demonstrates a male gaze in a movie.

Example of Gaze

The movie ‘Die Hard' which is a film of action genre directed by John McTiernan contains a strong example of the male gaze. There is a scene when movie-camera slowly tilts down to reveal that Bonnie Bedelia's blouse is opened slightly. However the movement was slender, it was very noticeable. It is a typical example of the male gaze in a film.

Police brutality videos are considered as examples of the theory of visuality in present practices. They are also termed as visual events. In this the act of brutality acts as the visual sign, home video recordings are technology in play while the viewers are multiple the blue live matter, outraged leftists and more. Looking and power is another tactice that is popularity being used by officials. For example, Panopticon is a prison in which the inmates are of the opinion that they are being watched 24 hours. This illusion of surveillance plays a vital role in shaping their behaviour.


Symbols are the process of presentation of reality directly in the form of symbols or signs. The symbols in visual media have so many different kinds of types such as sketches, drawings, cartoons, diagram, comics or strip drawing, charts, posters, graph etc (Woods, 2018).
The symbols in visual media need to be directly connected to the audit process. A big number of audiences can see the visual, for that the display needs to be big and the symbolic contents should be clear. Signs mainly associated with the word, sound or visual image (Cano et al. 2016). Saussure divides the signs between two main parts, one the signifier and the signified. The signifier is mainly the sound word or image and the signified is the concept or idea that signified represents.

Examples of the use of symbols

The movie by James Cameron's Aliens is one of the greatest action movies of all time. The movie is about a bunch of soldiers who were American mainly, sent to a faraway land to lead the death by an incompetent leader.

This story represents a symbolic meaning deep under the actual story of the movie. The symbol acts on the story of the Vietnam War occurred before 11 years the movie releases. It triggers a huge flashback of the Vietnam War. Firstly the symbol of US aircraft molded after the war.

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They have the general design of the soldiers in the movie which is currently is similar to the attire or the gear of Americans during the war. 

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But the similarities in the movie are just not cosmetic or coincidental, but it is also over the plot in the movie.


Codes are said to be the signs or symbols that created meaning in the piece of work. It can be classified into two types: technical and symbolic (Wittevrongel, Van and Van, 2017). Signs are often combined in order to form a larger cultural association and helps in expressing complex ideas. There are many different types of codes such as social codes, textual codes, perceptual and ideology codes. It is analysed that textual codes helps us in understanding about the different genres and therefore, this code is massively used in the movie industry. Technical codes are the one in which are used to narrate the story in media text like the way the camera works in a film. Symbolic codes whereas exhibiting the meaning lying underneath of what is shown.

In the study of genre codes and conventions are used simultaneously, like how a camera works, as it is not sufficient to discuss a technical code without saying how conventionally it is used in a genre. As there are many fast-paced scenes in an action genre, establishing a shot is important to show where and how the action is happening (Xue and Brandow, 2016). There are generally a lot of fighting scenes, gunshots, chasing scenes, stunts, so the scenes are captured in a way to make the viewers feel part of it. When we talk about action movies, some like Mission Impossible, Men in Black, Dark Knight or the Avengers, which are often hybridized with sci-fi, adventure or romance. It targets the youth and almost has a predictable chain of events like cause and effects. At times the dialogues are made intentionally humorous and witty. It uses gratification theory that can be mapped onto the action film. Often it has more narrative action codes than enigma codes along with a clear binary opposition. It also has a dominant representation of either a male or female gender or close, insert shots or high key lighting is used. The movies are produced and distributed by major Hollywood studios.


To conclude this it must be mentioned that the techniques mentioned here such as gaze, symbols, and codes are used in action movies to add an extra layer of meaning to the film. However, filmmakers do not always use these techniques consciously to multiply the sheds within a film. Many times these techniques are used unconsciously which shows the cognitive bias of the filmmaker. For example, actions movies are most of the times promote masculine values so the use of the male gaze is quite often seen in this genre. However, some filmmakers use gaze (male or female) to add an extra layer of meaning to the film. Most of the symbols are often deep-rooted in the culture. Therefore, they can be also used in an unconscious manner. Intelligent filmmakers use incorporate symbols subtly in their works to create a mood or drive the audience's emotions in a particular way. Codes are used consciously to create meaning in an action movie.

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