Article Review - Part 4

Article Review

The Power of the Image by Annette Kuhn

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            In her article, Annette Kuhn tackled the issues concerning the actions of Feminist in the society as well as its history and early days - Article Review introduction. The feminist movements are non-hierarchal in nature. Such movements include “labor in the household, relation between men and women at home and in the workplace, emotions sexuality, even the unconscious” (Kuhn, date). Feminist believes that ideas, language and as well as images are important factors in the development and in shaping the loves of both men and women. There had been movements against the use of women in films and commercials and in the role that they play in that particular motion picture in which language are said to define and as well as to confine women. Thus, the main interest of feminist movements had been centered on images, representations and meaning. Also, according to Kuhn, “knowledge is generated from the desire of the feminist politics, so existing knowledge is both used and transformed in the service of this desire.” (1999). It is like a form of politics that aims to reconstruct social changes. Although images, language and ideas have meaning of its own, there are still certain factors that affect the meaning of such objects. The meaning vary from time to time and from different places as well defending on it’s usage on that particular point in time and place. However, Kuhn argues that “politics and knowledge are interdependent: the women’s movement is not” (1996). Kuhn also stated that even individual feminist also have their own political experiences in such manner. They analyze and as well deconstruct representations in the society that are considered to be dominant and thus, it can be considered as a strategic practice of shaping and reconstructing the society.

The Role of Stereotypes by Richard Dyer

            In his article, Dyer gives emphasis on discussing the stresses made by Walter Lippmann on the role of stereotyping in the society which are classified as the following; an ordering process, a short cut, referring to the world and as an expression of our values and beliefs.

            Stereotyping is a form of ordering in a sense that it has something to do with the representation and categorization of individual being a member of certain groups in the society. However, there are two problems regarding this role of stereotyping in the society. The first is that it must be accompanied by a belief of absoluteness and as well as certainty. The second problem is due to the implication of power relations in the community in which the one who is considered to have the greater power is also capable of imposing the definition. The second role of stereotyping is as a short cut in which stereotyping can be considered as a very simple way of representing things and is also capable of compressing a large amount of information. A single phrase can refer to a wide range of information about a certain person or group. Stereotyping also serves as a representation of the world including their social function and types as defined by their aesthetic function that can be observe in the characterization of fictional characters and their embodiment in the society. In this case, it can be said that the privilege is more on the individual rather than of the collective or the mass. As given by the author, the issue facing this usage of stereotyping is whether which side should be given greater importance and attention, the personal and psychological or societal matters such as in alcoholism. Stereotyping also serves as a form of expression of values can be considered as the most important and as well as problematic issue when it comes to stereotyping. In this case, the effectiveness of stereotyping is dependent on how the definition invokes a consensus. It is also in stereotypes that we get most ideas from a certain person, group or culture. However, all these functions of stereotyping also lead to the function of ordering.

            According to Dyer, stereotype must set boundaries in order to be certain on who is clearly within and beyond it. This is the mot important function of stereotypes. Thus, stereotypes also makes the invincible visible since one cannot tell that a certain person belongs to that particular category by simply looking at his or her appearance unless he or she makes it obvious from gestures, clothing and actions.

            It can be true that the feminist movements are not hierarchal in nature since their actions are intended to make changes in the society such as equality in the privileges and treatment between men and women in the society. However, the issue of hierarchal within any feminist organization cannot be determined since any group has its own leaders who are considered to be the head and superior in making decision regarding certain matters and issues the organization faced.

            Ideas, images and language also plays an important role in shaping the minds of the people and thus, it is really an important factor in the acceptance of different groups, organizations and individuals in the society. These concepts are important since they may also give another meaning and interpretation about certain actions and place of individuals in the society. The most influential images, ideas and language can really be the media since they are mostly viewed and seen by most people in the community. The way things and persons are presented in the media can really have a great effect on how individuals and members of the society view these individuals and the category that they are at.

            Annette Kuhn is also right that the meaning that different images, language and ideas are dependent on the time and place of their existence and as well as the role that they play in that particular community. Thus, feminists are really aiming to reconstruct the notion of the society regarding women hoping that there will be changes in the future when it comes to views, treatment and their role in the society. By giving importance on the ideas, images and language in the society, feminist really aims to reconstruct the society by portraying another image and giving ideas though the use of these images and language in transforming the definitions that had been set in the society by stereotyping.

            Asserting that knowledge and as well as politics are interdependent while feminist movement is not is something arguable since the actions made by feminist in changing the views and their definition in the society can be said to be based on their knowledge on the impact of certain aspects in the society to the perception of the people. Thus, the actions and movement of feminist in the society are also based and are dependent on their knowledge of the aspects that affects the thinking and notion of the people.

            In the end, feminism is also a form of politics that desires to change the nation to their desires and benefit. It can also be considered as another institution that aims to change what they see as unjust in the society today and the using images, ideas and language was their main weapon in attaining their goal.

            As stated in Dyer’s article, there are several issues and usage of stereotyping in the community of which some are positive while others are negative. Indeed, stereotyping is a form of ordering in which persons are classified according to their characteristics, status and even role in the society. This matter on the other also has a negative implication rather than those that had identified by Dyer using Lippmann’s categories. This use of stereotyping can also be the main cause of discrimination of different forms. Through stereotyping, the differences between different categorize can clearly be seen and thus, promoting discrimination based on that category. As mentioned earlier, another problem regarding this function of stereotyping is that those in the higher position are capable or advantageous in giving the definition that is also at their advantage.

            Regarding the issue of dealing with stereotyping on the personal and societal aspect, it can be said that more attention should be given to the societal aspects of the issue. However, when it comes into the usage of characters such as in fictions, more attention is really given on the personal aspect and thus, as stated by Dyer, the individual has the privilege rather than the majority or the mass.

            It can be said that both articles tackle a very important aspect that is present in our community today, stereotyping. In Kuhn’s article, the emphasis was given on the role of the feminist and their movements in transforming the society. On the other hand, Dyer’s article illustrates the effects of stereotyping and use alcoholism as the main example in dealing with stereotyping. Although different examples had been used, it can be said that the two topics, alcoholism and feminism, are two important aspects present in our community toady. Stereotyping is really a very important issue that must be understood and tackled in this generation, something that both articles were able to do.

            It is also important for stereotyping to set the boundaries as stated earlier in order to ensure that no wrong categorization occurs which is really the biggest problem faced by stereotyping. In any case, an absolute certainty that such case may happen cannot be made although certain boundaries had been established. It is just impossible for everyone to be able to fully understand and follow such restrictions and boundaries.

            It can also be said that the two articles support each other or a consequence of the other since the ideas that are incorporated in one article is also incorporated in the other. The issue of images, ideas and language play an important role in the points of view of individuals and as well as the role of stereotyping in the community are two related issues since stereotyping may be brought about by certain aspects such a the presence of images, ideas and language in the society that promotes and affects stereotyping in that particular time and area.


Kuhn, A. (1999). The power of the image. Retrieved May 12, 2008 from



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