The Victim-Villain-Hero model in framing

In a previous article I have shown the 3P model in framing. Now I want to introduce the next model: the Victim-Villain-Hero model.

Your audience consists of people and no robots. The biggest difference is: people will hear your messages and statements and process the facts and connect these facts with emotions. As a result of emotions the people will explicitly or implicitly find and connect three roles to your message. These three roles are the victim, the villain and the hero.

For example if you speak about air pollution in your hometown, you and all people in this city are victims. The villain might be the boss of a plant who doesn’t want to invest in modernization. And the hero might be the mayor who proposes a new law against air pollution and of course all people are hero’s which vote for this law. You don’t have to name these three roles. As you speak about this topic, you will evoke the emotions of the audience and they will explicitly put the different protagonists into these roles.

How can you take this into account as you create a frame? On one hand you may put yourself into a role. You can frame yourself as hero or villain, or even both at the same time. On the other hand you may put your opponent into a role, the victim or also a villain. You should also take another important human behavior into account. If you talk about a problem you should also talk about a solution. The people will feel unsettled and dissatisfied if you miss to introduce a solution for the issue you talked about. The issue has created strong emotions and the people need someone who protects the victim. They need a hero. So if you use the Victim-Villain-Hero model, you should always have a hero within your frame.

And what if your opponent uses such a frame? You may reframe it and refuse the victim role. For example, within your reframe, you can talk another version of the same reality with swapped roles. So, your reframe can show some other facts which results in other roles. For example if your opponent shows himself as a hero you can try to push him into the villain role.

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