Tuesday, 27 October 2015

How is disablilty represented through the character of Donna in Eastenders?

Representation of disability - Donna

Donna portrays herself as being quite defensive and bitter towards the rest of the world, which could be seen as stereotypical of someone who is disabled. She does this by putting on a front and immediately shutting down/turning away anyone who tries to talk to her. By doing this she is showing that as a disabled person she is accepting and expecting everyone to see and treat her a certain way. E.g. she believes that everyone else will see her as a disabled before anything else. She is surprised when Fats makes her breakfast in bed after their one night stand and she claims that she 'isn't a lady' when Fats explains that he wants to treat a lady properly. A mid shot is used during this scene to imply that they are equals within the relationship. This is supported by the fact that when Fats comes in, he sits on the bed, therefore he is lowering himself (physically) so that they are on the same level. This helps to support the dominant ideology of able bodied people trying to make a conscious effort to try and make sure that disabled people feel equal.

Donna thinks nothing of what happened between them as though she doesn't feel like she is worthy of having a real relationship, without any awkwardness. However, everyone else wants her to have a real relationship and is very supportive of her as a disabled person. For example her friend Pam treats her like a child when they're talking about her one night stand and begins to tease her and treat her as though she were a small child who thinks they're in love. A mid shot is used in this scene to show to height difference between the two characters. The camera is also placed behind Donna at a slight distance as though the audience are viewing the conversation from across the square. The audience then sees how patronising Pam is being towards her by standing slightly over her and treating her as though she were a child. It is then emphasised as the camera gets closer and we see Pam from an over the shoulder/low angle shot. This could be representative of the fact that Donna is the talk of the square because a disabled person is stereotypically not expected to be sexually active.

When Fats goes over to Donna's house for a supposed date, she falls over and he runs in to help her up. The high camera angle means that we are looking down on her as well as Fats, making her seem more vulnerable and needy which is stereotypical of a disabled person. However, she shows power and control when she brings him down to her level to help her up where a midshot is used to show how she wants them to be equals. Never the less, she falls again and we then go back to seeing her from a high angle shot, therefore we are looking down on her. This could be representative of how disabled people feel (stereotypically) that are lower/limited in terms of living life the way other people do. The use of the midshot and the digetic sound of the radio playing upbeat music suggests that she is trying to create a warm, loving atmosphere for their 'date'. She also makes an effort to wear a nice dress and do her makeup, only to be ruined by Fats not being able to overlook the fact that she is disabled.

Peer Assessment:

good understanding of the question and excellent detail of representation however more explanation of terminology is needed and how it links to each other.

1 comment:

  1. some good analysis. Try to weave in more references media theory/concepts