1. How does your media product
represent particular social groups?
By Ellie D'Sylva
Our opening title sequence includes 2 characters. The representation of our protagonist is
largely stereotypical, however, it can be argued that the representation of the antagonist
is contrastingly countertypical.
Although we do include a cliché 'villainous character', she is most certainly not
stereotypical. Usually, the antagonist in pursuit of a young teenager is an old and often
caucasian male – our antagonist is also female and appears to be an ethnic girl around
the same age as the protagonist.
The stereotypes that we cover include; ethnicity, age and gender. We did not include
representations such as class/status or religion (common in thriller/horror) as they
weren't prominent factors in our particular production.
Our ideal target audience would likely be young adults of a similar age to both our
protagonist and antagonist but could potentially market to an older audience as well
because it is a thriller.
However, because both characters are females, I think our production is more targeted at
women that men as it would be easier to relate to the characters.
Also, the use of costume, colours and make-up helps to create the idea that they are both
3. Ethnicity / Race
Race is often used to portray different character types and help the audience understand more about the
character's role in the film. Although this technique is now often considered unoriginal and 'cliché', it is
still beneficial to include as a key feature in film because it helps the audience make clear assumptions
about a character/what may happen next and therefore allows them follow the plot of the film more easily.
Being a British production, it would have been easier to identify this/that the film was in English if we
included more dialogue, yet, it is almost irrelevant to the opening scene of our production as the only word
spoken is "Jenna" by the antagonist. Even then, you can almost hear the British accent.
The main 'hero'/'good guy' in films are usually cast as white, males (sometimes with light coloured eyes).
In this way, our choice in who we cast as the protagonist represents this ethnic social group, as she has
very fair skin and blue eyes, reflecting the innocence associated with the colour white and allowing the
audience to identify that she is the 'hero' of the film.
However, this idea has been challenged in recent years as many heroes of the story have been cast as
other ethnicities (e.g. Attach The Block). Our heroin also challenges this convention of the film industry as
she possesses counter-typical physical traits; her hair is brown and she is quite tall – taller than the
antagonist. This helps to show her dominance and strength as the film progresses and her brown hair
suggests that she is intelligent, more so than stereotypical blonde females in film.
An example of this stereotype is Lila, the main female character in the film 'Psycho' (which I have
previously studied). She is a young, small-framed, caucasian woman with blonde hair. This used to be
considered the epitome of beauty. A contributing factor to race is also the idea that white women are often
seen as vulnerable 'damsels in distress' who are in need of saving – a theme that is followed/developed
throughout this film as it ultimately leads to her death. The plot of our film suggests that the protagonist
not only challenges this convention but preserves as the film progresses and overcomes the 'villain'.
We have challenged the stereotype of men being the villain in films as we chose to make our
antagonist female. Although, she still clearly strong and powerful despite being a young woman of
small stature – apparent when she is able to burn Jenna (protagonist) just by touching her or being
able to move elusively from place to place instantly (as a demon would).
Even though our plot sees the feminine protagonist counter-typically saving the day (similar to that
of comic book superheroes e.g. Super Woman), she is still presented as being the weak and
vulnerable female protagonist in the presence of the shadow (antagonist) who is able to
There are no male characters in our opening title sequence (hero or villain) which promotes the
idea of female strength and independence because women actors are often just extras in films. We
are challenging this representation of women.
Stereotypically, a female leading character in film will most likely be physically attractive to draw
the attention of male viewers. We decided to almost dissent from this tradition with the antagonist
wearing such dark and sinister make-up whereas the protagonist is seemingly plain and simple
from not wearing any make-up at all. Here, you can also see a change in times, as modern ideals of
A character who also challenges this idea is Elsa from the animation film, 'Frozen'. She is a white,
blonde girl who is soft-spoken and quite shy/timid. As the film progresses, she becomes a
sophisticated and independent woman who wears sultry make-up and clothing. She also fights the
villain (who is a man) and saves her sister.
Stereotypes of young adults is that they are often 'young and dumb' which we somewhat follow because
our protagonist seems to be unaware/unobservant of the antagonist as she walks right past her and is
clumsy when falling back when confronted with the shadow.
Teenagers are often represented negatively in films. We haven't chosen to represent our protagonist in
this way as she is innocent and naive, however, the audience would have to continue watching to make
that judgment for themselves when they are presented with a flashback which gives reason as to why
Jenna is tormented.
On the other hand, the antagonist almost represents a typically gothic/emo teenager and is seen
negatively because she is the villain of the story.
Our protagonist also isn't the average teenager. She is pictured wearing an old-fashioned/ Victorian style
of nightdress and there is a visible reading book present on her night-stand – not any form of modern
technology (i.e. smartphone) which most stereotypical, anti-social teenagers are likely to have. An older
generation of viewers could have these aspects in common with the protagonist and may be more inclined
to watch our production.
Even though our production is aimed at a younger audience and doesn’t include grown adults(who are
usually taken more seriously), research shows that the older population tend to enjoy psychological
thrillers but still cannot, however, relate and identify with the characters as much as a younger audience
An example of a character who challenges the perception of dumb and naive teenagers is Katniss
Everdeen from 'The Hunger Games'. She is smart and tactical. She takes charge of situations and acts as
a leader to her generation. She fights the villains in this film and is named a hero. The young audience
members therefore see a strong and intelligent teenager who they are likely to be inspired by.