Exploring Representations of DisabilityObjectives:ª To gain a better understanding of the ways in whichdisability is represented.ª To perform Textual Analysis on a Hollyoaks extract.ª To practice writing textual analysis for the exam.Disability can be a sensitive subject and some would say its not anappropriate topic for entertainment. But increasingly the needsof differently abled people are being addressed by television andwhy shouldnt they be represented in the programmes that theywatch? The question for us is HOW are they being represented?
Barnes (1992) argues that mass media representations of disability have generally been oppressive andnegative. People with disabilities are rarely presented as people with their own identities. Barnes notesseveral common media representations of people with disabilities.•In need of pity and charity – Barnes claims that this stereotype has grown in popularity in recent yearsbecause of television appeals such as Children in Need.•As victims – Barnes found that when people with disabilities are featured in television drama, they arethree times more likely than able-bodied characters to be killed off.•As villains – people with disabilities are often portrayed as criminals or monsters, e.g. villains in JamesBond films often have a physical impairment.•As super-cripples – Barnes notes that people with disabilities are often portrayed as having specialpowers or as overcoming their impairment and poverty. In Hollywood films, the impaired male body isoften visually represented as a perfect physical specimen in a wheelchair. Ross notes that disability issueshave to be sensational, unexpected or heroic in order to be interpreted by journalists as newsworthy andreported on.•As a burden – television documentaries and news features often focus on carers rather than the peoplewith disabilities.•As sexually abnormal – it is assumed by media representations that people with disabilities do not havesexual feelings or that they are sexually degenerate.•As incapable of participating fully in community life – Barnes calls this the stereotype of omission andnotes that people with disabilities are rarely shown as integral and productive members of the communitysuch as students, teachers or parents.•As ordinary or normal – Barnes argues that the media rarely portray people with disabilities as normalpeople who just happen to have a disability. They consequently fail to reflect the real, everyday experienceof disability
Physically disabled/disfigured - often shown as outsiders,unable to do normal thingsMentally disabled - often shown as strange, odd, childlike,outsidersAble bodied/minded - often shown as normal/ideal Whats the power structure? Whats the dominant ideology? Wheres the binary opposition?
Cinematography•Lots of close-ups of Spencer looking vulnerable - makes the audiencesympathise•High angle shots of Spencer - makes him seem small, inferior/weak•Low angle shots of Warren - makes him seem big, superior/more powerful•Two shot of policaman shows him leaving his work to check on Spencer - heneeds looking after
Essay Writing - What FUN!Each group must prepare a paragraph on their area ofanalysis, of between 200-250 words, which wouldform part of a Textual Analysis essay on this extract.Remember to use appropriate terminology and trynot to waffle. Introductions and flowery language arenot required, you will have a limited time in the examto show your analytical skills and need to be concise. When you have finished your section you should email it to: firstname.lastname@example.org