To what extent can it be said that British soaps address and dramatis e the class and gender realities of the lives of their audience? By MAROON AHMED Throughout the history of public service and commercial television the mainstay of its success and a massive ratings winner, none more so than in the latter 25-30 years of its existence, has been the immense popularity of soap operas. Soap operas have become a fundamental and now traditional part of British life. Every channel has at least one or more soaps which are pivotal to there existence. BBC 1 for example continually justify their license fee charge through the popularity of prime time soap opera Eastenders, concerning the working class people of London’s east end. ITV 1 and Channel 4 gain massive amounts of revenue through their primetime soaps of Coronation Street and Hollyoaks respectively. Coronation Street is also sponsored by Cadbury’s, and so along with Hollyoaks and other Commercial channels, must gain a continual and loyal audience in order to justify advertisers’ placement of their commercials around the program and the vast sums of money that is spent on that particular time slot.
It has been continually argued that the soap opera in general is a “woman’s genre” and that and its appeal is only really understood and appreciated by the female gender. I have chosen to outline the certain dramatic devices soap operas employ to keep its target audience content. The Family A central argument that stems from the initial question of whether or not soap operas can be defined or judged to be fundamentally a woman’s genre of television is the associations of the family and the intrinsically links of parenting and maternal ties. In all of the contemporary soap operas of today the focus is consistently about families and their troubled lives behind closed doors. Eastenders for example uses the family as a pivotal vehicle in conveying their somewhat unconventional storyline’s in an immensely exciting life. Eastenders’ Albert Square wouldn’t be able to achieve some of the storyline’s that it has without the likes of the Mitchell’s, the Fowler and the Slater’s along with the fact that channel fives flagship soap is named Family Affairs, which effectively tells you about what it is based upon.
?In this assignment I aim to discuss life story work: which can provide the care worker, and care receiver a better understanding of each other’s needs, and provide the care worker with information that can help support the care receiver in the best way. The carer needs to possess certain skills sensitivity, confidentiality, empathy, trustworthiness, and have commitment to seeing the story to the ...
Mother Figures Again this area of argument about whether soap is a woman’s genre is the link from the family in association with mother figures. Eastenders is a prime example of the role as Barbara Windsor is the powerful mother in her role as Peggy Mitchell and Wendy Richard plays the advice giving mother role, Pauline Fowler. Also in Coronation Street shop owner Rita could be described as the mother figure much in the same mould as Pauline Fowler if not more of a wisdom giver. Soaps typically embody the mother as ‘all powerful’; the family’s foundation of strength, providing the emotional, and sometimes monetary, support needed to keep the family ‘afloat’. Gendered Audience Theory recognizes that watching soap operas is a social practice. It validates the woman’s role in the home as “housewife” and “mother.” Furthermore, the oral culture it promotes allows women to “play with dialogue…
for pleasure” (Brown, 1994: 16).
Responsibilities This is a key area in the character make-up of why the genre of soap could be classed as primarily a woman’s genre. Modleski’s research studies (1984) reveal that the soap opera primarily reflects the woman’s role in the home. Modleski believes that within this area it could be argued that soaps extend upon the average everyday lives of a certain grouping of people and are really a sub-plot to focus upon, in a subtle or even subconscious manner, the responsibilities and expectancies of women concerning their roles in society. The up bringing of families along with the instances that deal with emotion and morality are, and will almost certainly always be associated with women, in the viewpoint of society and so obviously will be linked with the notion that soap is primarily feminine in its approach due to the clear connections that soap has with societal behaviour, attitudes and beliefs. Large emphasis is placed upon the family, public situations and more often than not the community.
A study of the representation of women in the action film genre and the social messages and values constructed and conveyed. In this essay, I will be looking at the representation of women in the action film genre and studying the social messages that are constructed and conveyed by the medium. The two media texts I will be comparing from are ‘ Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom’ (1984) and ‘ ...
This gives viewers and women most notably a sense of belonging and provides, hypothetically speaking, a substitute family. Independence The vision of the woman as having a massive amount of independence is shown in soaps of today and as is another indication of it being a woman’s genre. The amount of up front and powerful images of women is commonplace in soaps. Peggy Mitchell of Eastenders and Bet Lynch of Coronation Street who both own and run / ran a pub is a prime example of how women are portrayed as being independent. Another example of independence shown in soap operas is Sam Mitchell in Eastenders where she seems to have this entrepreneurial spirit about her. “For women viewers of patriarchal soaps it is the demonstration that male power, challenged on the one hand by moral questioning and on the other by the women’s refusal to be controlled, can never be fully or easily asserted” (Geraghty, 1991: 74).
Soaps provide an outlet for feminine anger in acknowledging women’s contradictory impulses. Men take on static positions as ‘head’ of the family in soaps and are deliberately deprived of the stereotypical powerful image inherent in action thrillers, etc. Women enjoy seeing them suffer and their authority undermined. With regards theories of women’s inequality, soaps are a source of female strength because “they help women test the waters to see how far they can go in challenging social norms” (Brown, 1994: 12).
Viewpoint There is no question that the soap opera was designed to appeal to the female sex. It centres its viewpoint of reality on domesticity, family life and gossip making it both comforting and appealing to women of all ages, classes and origins.
... women in the soap opera. Television soap operas are long-running serials traditionally based on the close study of personal relationships within the everyday life of its characters. Soaps ... protest against it. (108) If we look at some female characters found in soap operas, we will see patterns emerging from their lifestyles to ...
In all soap operas there is a definitive aim in terms of the woman contained within this genre, which is one of letting its audience see the episode from a woman’s point of view. This can be backed up by the fact that the audience is continually asked to identify with the female characters. For instance, Eastenders had two major story lines running at the same time concerning Kat Slater being Zo”e Slater’s natural mother and Sonia Jackson giving birth in her front room. Both of these storyline’s are extremely feminine issues and even a deemed masculine event such as the “Who shot Phil Mitchell?” storyline of recent times was eventually settled when it concluded with the expected “gunman” being a “gun woman” in the form of character Lisa Shaw. Scheduling The scheduling of soap operas is also equally as important as any other reason for distinguishing it as a female genre as they are continually shown at primetime’s but also in some soaps cases, for instance Neighbours, at dinnertime slots in and around one o’clock. For the most part they are shown during the day when women are attending to their daily house chores, but in the cases of say Coronation Street and Eastenders are shown after the tea has been eaten.
It is also a familiarity that is a major attraction to women, as they know that when everything is done that their soap will be on the screen at that time. Realism British soaps are often viewed as being realistic because of their emphasis on the everyday happenings of life and their depictions of the working classes who in reality constitute the mass of the British population. This “realist aesthetic” appeals to the masses and women in particular, because it allows viewers to put their knowledge of the world and knowledge of the conventions of television into play. The close-up shot characteristically used in soaps enables viewers to focus on the characters’ emotions and to understand most, if not all of the actions depicted. Women in particular obtain enjoyment from being able to acknowledge the ‘true’ emotions of the characters when they typically hide them behind a mask; for example, Bet Lynch (from Coronation Street) is admired for putting on a brave face when times are tough at the Rovers Return (the local pub in the series).
... use celebrities that they know the audience can identify with, for example a soap opera character to sell the product, because they ... What type of emotional response do the female audiences have to the soap opera, The Bold and the Beautiful? 4. Research ... a questionnaire relating to the emotions experienced by woman whilst viewing soap opera's, in particular the Bold and the Beautiful. Please ...
In this way, the characters are emotional representatives, inviting the audience to partake in the arising issues and conflicts, in order that they may seek temporary solutions to the problems they are experiencing in real life.
Repetition The fact that soap operas are so repetitive in terms of form and its storyline’s which in most cases carry itself through one episode and itself within the numerous episodes which follow. It doesn’t matter what is going on in an episode it is extremely easy to catch up with what has been hopping. So with women it is easy to, for example, do the ironing at the same time as of an episode being on. Their undemanding nature and emphasis on talk not action, means that a busy mother can catch the gist of what is going on merely through hearing what the characters have to say. This is because a soap opera is simplistic enough as to only be listening to it to understand what’s going on.
Its simplicity makes a soap opera easily viewable even in a sometimes hectic, domestic lifestyle. Emotional Ien Ang (1985) suggested, the surface of a soap opera, its exciting representation of everyday life, is not it is only key to success. Ang’s book called Watching Dallas indicated that women’s enjoyment of Dallas came not from the surface of everyday life but from an ability to believe and identify with the emotional side of certain characters, none more so than one of the main characters in the American soap, Sue Ellen. Ang found that even the glamour depicted in the American soaps, whilst it would understandably create envy, did not make women resentful, they found that it appealed to their fantasies. The melodramatic format of Dallas allowed the expression of emotional problems, and difficulties, which would otherwise be suppressed, in normal everyday life and it is this form of representation that appeals to women and enables them to “feel as well as observe.” (Geraghty: 2000) A reason for the apparent feminism within soap and its then expected ness of becoming known as a woman’s genre is its link to the idea of the ‘personal sphere of emotion’ (Brunsdon: 1981/1991).
How, as a director, would you present the role of Michael in Friel's 'Dancing At Lughnasa' What theatrical impact would you hope to achieve for the audience AS with every character, a director must analyse and interpret Michael as they see him and then try to get this across to the audience without making him stand up stage and give them a profile of his and his aunts lives. As a director, I think ...
As Geraghty points out the domestic space of home and the trials and tribulations of relationships of a personal nature, especially in the family are constructed as being female concerns.
This, coupled with soap operas acknowledgement of the nature of women’s work and thus in turn endorsing it, along with soap being recognised as emphasis ing traditional associations between women and emotions, is again a significant link to the notion that soap operas are primarily a woman’s genre (Geraghty: 2000).
This can be justified through the pleasure that is gained by the female audiences through the value given to women in soap operas in terms of creating and / or maintaining a storyline through everyday characters such as wives, girlfriends and daughters. In agreement with Ang is Dorothy Hobson who also believed that it was the emotional connections that women had of the characters that was a definitive link to the notion that soap can be defined as a woman’s genre. Hobson conducted a set of interviews during 1987, to establish how far the soap operas fit into the working environment of women. In her study of Crossroads during its peak, in the mid 1980’s in which it gained on average over 13 million viewers an episode, she noticed that women used it as source of pleasure. Crossroads wasn’t well known for its award winning acting, in fact it was often mocked for being incredibly poor and the situations that characters were placed within were somewhat extremely implausible.
Yet still it attracted the large audience in which it due, and that was due to the character companionship that women felt towards the soaps characters, with one woman describing and believing that the emotional dilemmas placed upon into certain scenes and upon certain characters “were close to home” (Hobson: 1982).
Hobson asked the women why they actually like soap operas and they claimed that it was due to their undemanding natures, the interesting story lines and the ability to become emotionally involved in the programme. Hobson also ague d that Crossroads and other soaps weren’t just a mild form of escapism from everyday life but were a chance for women to experience everyday difficulties through a ‘virtual emotional realism.’ (Hobson: 1982) Pleasures Put simply, it offers a set of pleasures that are extremely potent in attracting a female audience and so has adopted its content to, not exclude the male audience, but to satisfy the majority, which in the case of soap operas, the female audience. When looking at academic literature for information into a subject area of this kind the well-used model of “Uses and Gratifications” can be applied to women and soap operas (Branston/Stafford: 1999: 408).
An Analysis Of Hawthorne's Short Stories Essay, An Analysis Of Hawthorne's Short Stories An Analysis of Hawthorne's Short Stories In many of Nathaniel Hawthorne's short stories, he creates characters with either a malicious or evil feature to relay to the reader a more allegorical meaning. Many would say he targets woman without justification. Therefore a reader may interpret him to be a ...
Even though this form of audience reception research was developed in the 1940’s and then redeveloped in the 1960’s it still has extreme relevance in application to today’s society. In relation to the topic of study concerning to what extent can people go to, to actually define soap operas as a woman’s genre, this form of media has not influenced women in any particular way, the female audience has in fact chosen soap operas as way of feeding a habit so to speak.
As is classically phrased amongst academics its not “what the media do to audiences” and more to do with “what audiences do with the media” (Corner: 2000).
And so it is noticeable that women are attracted to soap operas as they can enjoy the elements of its form to such a certain and unequalled degree, than with any other element of mass media. A soap opera offers, as stated previously, family as a centralised theme, with authority and leadership contained within a usual “mother” type of figure. It emphasizes women’s responsibilities at home as well as in society and offers a form of independence rarely seen elsewhere. Soap operas are attractive to the female gender because of the escapism that is available within such programmes. The lives of the characters in the soaps are exciting and lively and offer the audience a glimpse of how life could be more interesting.
But this concept of escapism only really works through the repetitive nature of soap operas and the audiences’ ability to find a form of companionship in a character or characters. Research undertaken by Christine Geraghty (2000) into gender and its representations within society, clarified many arguments about to what extent soap operas could be defined as a woman’s genre. In analyzing women in it is noticed that the role that “Cagney and Lacey” had on its female audience was an extremely powerful one. In a study of women that were interviewed about the programme, the answers pointed to the two characters sense of realism – they seemed ordinary and were distinguishable because of their realism as they were described as being “like us.” Only a female audience could relate to such characters and where more narrowed soaps were concerned, like Coronation Street, Terry Lovell commented upon the independence that women in soaps showed and how this strong and deeply powerful imagery which was offered to its audience was in fact in essence an attraction for the female gender. Feminist critics have, when analyzing media and cultural studies, often referred to soap operas as prime examples of television that was specifically geared towards a feminine audience. For many women soap operas are deemed as a source of pleasure, which is an indication towards a constructed femininity through a depiction of a woman’s life.
Hopefully I have clearly outlined the key factors that show how soap operas as primarily a woman’s genre. It is in my opinion an extremely female orientated genre but that does not however make this genre any less progressive than any other form of television. I tend to agree with the notion put forward by Hobson (1982) that even with it’s lack of masculinity, the genre of the soap opera is one of the most progressive forms of television around. This is due to the fact that the audience “contributes to the understanding” of the drama and it is a form where the “audience is always in control.” This, along with the dramatic reflection that soap operas give to its primarily female audience is what will keep soap operas on our screens for years to come. You have been warned… Bibliography o The Mass Media & Power In Modern Britain (1997) cc.
John Eldridge, Jenny Ki zinger and Kevin Williams: Oxford University Press The following authors were cited from: The Mass Media & Power In Modern Britain (1997) (Brown: 1994), (Modleski: 1984), (Ien Ang: 1985), (Hobson 1982), (Brunsdon: 1981/1991), (Terry Lovell: unknown) The Media Students Book: Second Edition (1999) Gill Branston and Roy Stafford: Routledge Publishers) Women And Soap: A Study Of Prime Time Soaps (1991) Christine Geraghty: Policy (London) o Mass Media And Society: Third Edition (2000) James Curran & Michael Gurevitch: Arnold Publishers The following authors were cited from: Mass Media And Society: Third Edition (2000) (John Corner: 2000) (Christine Geraghty: 2000) o Also used was the Eastenders Web-site: web.