Genres can be seen as involved in the construction of their readers. John Fiske sees genre as 'a means of constructing both the audience and the reading subject' (Fiske 1987, 114). Christine Gledhill argues that different genres 'produce different positionings of the subject... Genre specification can therefore be traced in the different functions of subjectivity each produces, and in their different modes of addressing the spectator' (Gledhill 1985, 64). And Steve Neale argues in relation to cinema that genre contributes to the regulation of desire, memory and expectation (Neale 1980, 55).
Tony Thwaites and his colleagues note that in many television crime dramas in the tradition of The Saint, Hart to Hart, and Murder, She Wrote,
Mass media genres play a part in the construction of difference and identity, notably with regard to sexual difference and identity (Neale 1980, 56-62). Some film and television genres have traditionally been aimed primarily at, and stereotypically favoured by, either a male or a female audience. For instance, war films and westerns tend to be regarded as 'masculine' genres, whilst soap operas and musicals tend to be regarded as 'feminine' (which is not, of course, to say that audiences are homogeneous). However, few contemporary theorists would accept the extreme media determinism of the stance that audiences passively accept the preferred readings which may be built into texts for readers: most would stress that reading a text may also involve 'negotiation', opposition or even outright rejection.