Evaluative questions: 2, How does your media product represent particular social groups?

Our 2 minute opening clip was intended to portray the holding room for a group of young male captives who were to be sold in the UK for labour, sexual, and other exploitative purposes. The captives are white ambiguous Europeans.

Both actors in our 2 minute clip are white, English, and are from soundly affluent backgrounds. This is how we transformed them into neglected and malnourished slaves for the shooting.

Categorising the appearance human traffic in order to present them accurately.

Taken from the Hope Revolution webpage (http://www.hope-revolution.com/Articles/87689/Hope_Revolution/Change_My_World/TEARFUND_HUMAN_TRAFFIC.aspx)is the passage…

“How human trafficking takes place varies with each case, but there are certain similarities that draw many of the stories together. Often it starts…with people made vulnerable by poverty being deliberately misled. They are promised easy, safe work with decent pay, yet what they end up with is horribly different. At other times people are simply taken by force, against their will, to the country in which their vulnerability is exploited. Alone, illegal and impoverished, many people who have been trafficked feel as if they have no option but to keep quiet and put up with the torment of a life of slavery.”

From this we can tag our characters to appear: “impoverished”, “vulnerable”, “exploited”, “alone”, “quiet” and “tormented”.

“Impoverished” was represented in our clip by them being held in a dark room with only a mattress to sleep on, and a bowl to eat and drink from. They also wore no clothes whereas wealthier labourers would wear clothes. (Also technically the traffic are not given clothes so they cannot conceal objects to aid escape/harm the traffickers/themselves.) The nudity and laying positions of the actors establish their “vulnerability”, dejection and despondency; and the handcuffs make them appear “exploited”. The bowed heads and incommunication between the two captives in the scene impresses a sense of lonesomeness and “quiet”. And the quick edit cuts from 1.16 – 1.26 show a sense of fear and “torment”.

We have visually constructed the description of this social group from what the Hope Revolution’s webpage informed us.


In our questionnaire we asked the question –

What social group do you think is being portrayed in this opening clip?

White, affluent British? Abused minors with ambiguous nationality? Young offenders in government custody?

If people were to choose White, affluent British – the actual social group of the actors – then we had obviously not planted enough Mise en Scene and/or anchored our imagery to portray what we wanted. If people were to choose Abused minors with ambiguous nationality then we had succeeded in portraying the slaves in the film. If people chose Young offenders in government custody, then we had successfully shown that they were captives but the imagery would not have been execrable enough to show that they were in fact abused slaves rather than prisoners of Her Majesty.

Out of the 24 people we asked, all of them said we had portrayed Abused minors of ambiguous nationality. Obviously then, the steps we took to show the prisoners as “impoverished”, “vulnerable”, “exploited”, “alone”, “quiet” and “tormented” has successfully represented our desired social group.


About elmercqegs

I am 16 years old and studying at Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School, Horncastle, Lincolnshire.
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