How does your media product represent particular social groups? Hannah Ram - 4730 GENDER? ETHNICITY? AGE?
Gender Representation In our opening we introduced both a male and a female character Like in most psychological thrillers the main character, Horatio, is male. Within our opening males are portrayed as being the ‘villain’ (Propp (1969) character theory) because of Horatio’s eerie obsession with Mia and because he is the perpetrator of the events. Whereas, females are presented as being the ‘victim’ because Mia is Horatio’s target, which is shown when he is following her and by the pictures of her on the wall. Victim being followed by Horatio Villain looking at pictures of Mia
Gender Representation cont. The ‘victim’ and ‘villain’ roles are also depicted through the height difference between the characters, as because Horatio is taller than Mia he takes up more of the frame and therefore, appears more dominant. Whereas, because Mia is shorter than him, and takes up less of the frame, she appears vulnerable, which depicts her as being the ‘victim’. Also Horatio is presented as being the ‘villain’ because in the first scene he is behind her, to show that he is following her, and she is unaware that he is there. Stereotypically, in psychological thrillerswomen are shown as being passive and dominated by men. (For example, in the ‘The Butterfly Effect’ the main female character is powerless to stop Evan from altering her life).We used this stereotype because within our opening Mia is powerless to stop his obsession as she is unaware of what is happening and is therefore, depicted as being passive because she is portrayed as an innocent secondary character. The colours of Horatio’s clothes (red, black and white) present males as being dangerous because they have connotations of blood and death. This is a typical representation of a male within a psychological thriller, as it is conventionally men, rather than women, that have the mental disorder that makes them a threat to society.
Gender Representation cont. Furthermore, the lighting in our opening help reinforce the ideas that males are sinister in comparison to, passive, females: Dark lighting suggests creates an eerie atmosphere and suggests that Horatio is doing something sinister Natural lighting creates a sense of equilibrium and suggests that Mia isn’t sinister
Representation Comparison Gender representation in our opening in comparison to another psychological thriller Horatio in comparison to Falling Down main character:
They are both shown as being intelligent because of their rather large glasses
They are shown as almost being too intelligent because it is their intelligence spills over into an obsession
The connotations of their costumes are of danger, so males are depicted as being dangerous
The use of the eye-level camera angle suggests that on the surface they are normal males
They both dominant the frame because they are at the centre, which suggests males are dominant and also acts as a signifier for the males being the protagonists.
Age Representation Both of our main characters are teenagers (17 years old). Generally, within the media teenagers are represented as being hoodie wearing thugs. However, this is a massive overgeneralization. As our target audience are teenagers we knew that we could not follow this generalisation because it would offend them. Therefore, we presented teenagers as hard working, intelligent young people. This is shown through Horatio’s attire and also the fact that he is writing a newspaper article about Mia because it suggests that he takes part in extra curricular activities at college. Moreover, the newspaper article that he is writing says that Mia has ‘exceeded all expectations’ in relation to her grades at school, which shows that she is highly intelligent and not lazy as the media would suggest. Teenagers are also represented as being friendly and sociable because within the article Mia is described as being ‘articulate’ and ‘attractive’.
Ethnicity Representation Within our opening we decided that we wanted to represent an urban multicultural society, which is shown by the use of different ethnic groups within our opening. Usually, within psychological thrillers the protagonist is a white, middle-class, middle-aged man, which is not representative of the modern society that we all live in. Therefore, by using a blank protagonist we are showing that mental disorders can affect everyone and not just this particular social group, and we are also representing a modern society at the same time. Stereotypically, within the media black people (particularly young black teenagers) are depicted as being associated with crime and not being very smart. Whereas, white people are often portrayed as being middle/upper class and well spoken. Within our opening, although it is shown that Horatio is stalking Mia his misconduct is counterbalanced by his intelligence. Therefore, we didn’t play up to the stereotype of black people being violent/aggressive within our opening and instead tried to present Horatio as being smart (but sinister) through the use of mise-en-scene (the glasses depict his intelligence, the connotations of the colours of his clothes depict him as being dangerous). Contrastingly, with Mia we followed the stereotypes because within our opening she presented as being a high achiever, inside social norms and her clothing suggests that she is middle class.