All media texts are REPRESENTATIONS of reality. They are intentionally composed, lit, written, framed, cropped, captioned, branded, targeted and censored by their producers, and that they are entirely artificial versions of the reality we perceive around us. Every media form is a representation of someone's concept of existence, codified into a series of signs and symbols which can be read by an audience.
However, without the media, our perception of reality would be very limited, and that we, as an audience, need these artificial texts to mediate our view of the world - we need the media to make sense of reality. Therefore, representation is a two-way process: producers position a text somewhere in relation to reality and audiences assess a text on its relationship to reality.
The factors of representation most commonly addressed are:gender
social class and status
GENDERRepresentation of femininity through performance of Natalie Portman, who acts soft, fragile, miniature. She has to overcome one aspect of feminine nature -- tender, vulnerable, - to go into another -- seductive, sinful and sexual.Scarlett O`Hara`s femininity is represented by her weakness (unsteady and sometimes hysterical behaviour).On the other hand, Rhett Butler, acting emotionally stable, being strong (stately) is a good representation of power and masculinity.
The advertising showing men adopting female roles unsuccessfully -- this is transmitted to the audience through their failure in traditionally feminine occupations, like cooking or dancing. Masculine characters are represented as isolated, not needing rely on any others -- in this clip men only made the grade in independent, intellectual work (rather than women whose frame of reference was emotional, as opposed to intellectual, dealings).
Women in the advertising are represented in accordance with traditional stereotypes -- soft (impression supported by tender instrumental diegetic sound), supportive (women are often represented as being part of a context (here - family) and working/thinking as part of a team; they tend to take the role of helper or object, passive rather than active).
The two advertisings of the product of the same type, designed for male and female. We see differing emotional atmosphere in masculine and feminine add -- resolute, powerful, aggressive and strong and joyful, lightweight and pretty respectively.
Children may be represented ascute helpless beings, victims of crimes; brilliant prodigy children; brave; little devils etc.The children are represented to be pure, unselfish, innocent, loving and self-sacrificing thourgh.Due to the childish appearance mixed with braveness, energy and masculinity in performance, the character seem to have grown up too early -- we don`t traditionally associate children with such resolute and belligerent actions.
Charlie and Chocolate Factory - children portrayed as ideal consumers.
Stereotypically, youth is seen and represented as physically and mentaly immature, careless, unreliable, lazy, selfish, never going to achieve anything, greedy and often unfit.In the text youth is represented as deviant, uncontrollable and unpromising. Cruelty and lots of inner physical energy are transmitted to the audience through destructive actions, fights etc. The puberty is represented by elements of mise en scene -- the young women are wearing low-cut revealing clothes. Some guys are wearing golden chains to represent wealth and power. However, the combination of these with actions without foresight done for effect create an impression of affected showing off.Youth are portrayed as immoral and anti-authority.
In contrast, old people are often represented as grumpy, mentally challenged, dependent (and a burden for who they depend on).Elderly people are represented as clumsy and awkward, burdening the young team.Old people are potrayed experiencingthe second childhood- their actions are amusing, fussy and purely innocuous. The characters are transmitted as funny and absurd.
In the Harry Potter story, Voldemort's quest for immortality results in his smooth-skinned appearance. However, his desire to remain unmarked by age is represented as part of his inherent villainy. In direct contrast, Dumbledore's flowing white beard and craggy, lined face confer wisdom and goodness.
SOCIAL CLASS AND STATUS
Intouchables, Driss -- representative of the underclass
The character is transmitted as impudent and not going to work in the beginning, growing lazy and being a financial problem and canaille of society. Through the scenes in the district where he lives the director potrays how supportive is Driss to the people of the same background. This represents a developed collective identity, which is considered to be typical for under- and working classes. The creators chose black actor for this role, because social status is often underpined by ethnicity and background.
-- The Speech of King, Meeting the Duchess
The middle class person is represented as simple and neglecting formalities, but very natural and humane, contrasting with the representative of elite, transmitted as respectful and mannerly, but impersonal, reserved and impenetrable.
The upper class is represented as reserved and closed for others, mannerly. On the other hand, through measured soundtrack themes and steady performance the creators show how boring is the life of the elite, following all the etiquette formalities. Trying to reserve emotions and stick on the behaviour rules, the fiance of Jane looks retarded. On the other hand, Lefroy (middle class) is represented as unprompted, mobile and prone to simple joy.
Sexuality can be transmitted through what does a character look like, wear, sound like, does for a living, how does he/she behave.
-- Coco Mademoiselle Perfume CommercialProvocative images of women partly clothed or naked in the advertising and their sexuality is linked to products that are bought and sold. Women's bodies are sexualized in ads in order to grab the viewer's attention.DISABILITY/ABILITY
Media representations of disability tend to be opressive and negative. They are often potrayed as characters in need of charity, as burden, sexually abnormal and incapable of participating in everyday life.The mentally disabled boy is potrayed as special (talented in some specific areas, like running and table tenis). However, the representation of Forrest doesn`t subvert ideological values -- he is still perceived as defective, oafish and gets bullied by others.Christy Brown, disabled boy, is represented as his family burden, unaccepted by society.
In both cases, the disabled heroes are potrayed as sincere, humane and benevolent towards their offenders.
Ethnic minorities may often be represented as criminals, threat, as dependent on dole or unimportant. In the most recent movies, due to globalization, immigrants may be represented from other point of view, so their characters are transmitted as more positive to the viewer. However, it`s considered that other characters in the movie hold on traditional stereotypes, which leads to the immigrants beingrepresented as oppressed, aggrieved and misunderstood.Illegal immigrants in France are represented as despared, unsure about future, humble about their fate, but continuing to struggle. Through the mise en scene the creators transmit poverty and hopelessness.
-- Backseat Italians, Fiat Commercial
Commercial representing foreigners as weird and ridiculous, but nice on the whole.The foreign family potrayed funny, absurd, weird and ridiculous.The movie transmitting the idea the should be no stereotypes mentioned above.
In the TV drama regional identity is represented through strong Manchester accent and components of mise en scene (middle class kind of clothes and the area around looking unsafe).The accent and slang like 'sweet' represent regional identity.
-- Home and Away (Australians)
Regional identity is shown through by views in the picture (countryside in the distance) and an old vehicle (stereotypically used in the countryside).