Representations of women in the media have developed and changed with time to reflect the cultural and sociological changes in society. However, female stereotypes continue to appear in some media texts.

Representations of women are often defined by how men see women (termed the 'male gaze'), or by how society expects women to look and behave.

Many representations of women concentrate on sexuality and emotions. Others focus on their relationships with their children or romantic partners.

An infographic explaining the conventions of a women's magazine cover

Magazine front covers often include stereopypical representations of women

Although there are representations of women in the media that conform to society's expectations there are also representations that aim to subvert and challenge these constructions.

These positive representations offer a more realistic and refreshing view, showing women as active rather than passive, as heroes not victims.

Case study: The Hunger Games

Jennifer Lawrence's character Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games is an example of this kind of positive representation.

Katniss subverts the stereotypical representations of women we see in mainstream media.

She is a survivor and a scavenger.

She is highly skilled in archery and hunting, self-reliant and self-sufficient. She proves herself to be a responsible young person - looking after her family. Fearless and rational, she does not allow her emotions to get in the way of her survival.