Life as we know it


Holly Berenson (Katherine Heigl) is the owner of a small Atlanta bakery, and Eric Messer (Josh Duhamel), (often just known as "Messer") is a promising television technical sports director for the Atlanta Hawks. Their best friends Peter (Hayes MacArthur), an attorney, and Alison Novak (Christina Hendricks) set them up on a blind date that goes horribly wrong, and results in both hating each other. As the years go by, Peter and Alison get married, and have a baby girl named Sophie Christina, and select Holly and Eric as godparents of Sophie.


Representing Family Life: Holly & Messer

Character: Holly Berenson - Katherine Heigl

Character: Eric Messer - Josh Duhamel


What do these images say about how each characters' gender was introduced to the audience?

Well written response: By Student

You can argue that the film text, 'Life As We Know It' has a implicit ideology of Gender threaded through out the narrative. Discuss this analogy using media language.
- 6 marks -

'Life As We Know It' (2010) has an implicit ideology suggesting that the protagonist and antagonist have conflicting ideologies in the narrative on their impression of gender. They are of opposite genders, allowing the director to project both femininity and masculinity in societies true form. The male character is stereotypically stern, tough and physically strong, and the antagonist embodies all of this. He is the 'typical' male figure in media, in the period of 2010. Whereas, the female character is gentle, empathetic and calming.

She is projected through colours of red to admire her delicate body and interest in material possessions, such as her car, shoes and lipstick. This red is often seen to project passion and a women's love. This red was contrasted in the narrative with the male's black clothing and motorbike, as he is seen as an indestructible, 'tough' figure that will not be broken down by a women's genuine love. Through the use of colour, this analogy is seen, as the protagonist represents the ideology of gender to reflect sensitivity, gentleness and empathetic, whereas, the antagonist reflects the ideology through being harsh, careless and physically strong.

Story Arc is another form of media language that helps illustrate this implicit ideology of gender. The narrative experiences conflict, when following the typical success to failure to overcome triumph to victory storyline. During their moments of conflict, the women appears to embody ideology to become driven, strong and independent. She is career focused, just as the antagonist. He, like men in the ideology of gender, continues to place his job and work in front of relationships with friends and family. Thus, reflecting again their different views of gender.

Well written response: By Student

In one of the texts you studied, how was multiple storylines employed to convey the ideology of gender?
- 4 marks -

The opening of the text, ‘Life as we know it’ (2010) depicts the characters of Holly Berenson (Katherine Heigl) and Eric Messer (Josh Duhamel) as two conflicting characters with contrats in lifestyle. The story line follows the two after being paired on a blind date, Messer is shown as a laid back, 'playboy' with limited responsibility. In contrast, Berenson is depicted as a woman of success, whom is education and professional. As the development of the narrative progresses, audience's becomes more aware of the interrelated storylines, where the life's of the characters intersect to impact on one another. Through the use of codes and conventions to establish and develop character possibilities by the audience, the narrative progresses to show the contrasting storylines to meet. The death of their mutual friend, left the two to work in collaboratively and look after a child together. The boisterous lifestyle of Messer and structured routines of Berenson are challenged when they are forced to cooperate and create a life for their new child where the implicit ideology of gender is shown through their interactions. The two are made to connect despite their differences, however, the director employs the use of story arch's to display the perceived ideals of a family life and thus, informing the audience of how gender stereotypes have evolved.

Cause & Effect & Ideology response to a question

Explain how cause and effect propels a narrative. Using cause and effect provide an example of a situation that underpins the ideology of gender in one of the text you studied.
- 6 marks -

For every action there is a reaction. Audiences are exposed to the cause and effects of narratives in all media productions. Without these chain of events audiences will disengage and have no anticipation of events to come.

Life as we know it (2010), is a text that provides audiences with several events that impact them and help them identify with the ideology of gender. The narrative is riddled with situations that cause the two leading characters to demonstrate their ability to be a good mother and father. This human mishap is a cause and effect storyline that is often found in the romantic comedy genre.

This text also provides the audience with a counterforce that provides conflict with the two protagonists that is resolved in the resolution. Restoring equilibrium for audiences is also another cause and effect convention employed to satisfy the audience. The example in Life as we know it, is allowing the audience to see the female and male leads unite as a family, allowing the ideology of gender to suit the time period in which this text was distributed. In 2010 American audiences want to see that children are raised with two parents that represent the ideology of gender roles within a stereotypical family.