Portrayal of women in soaps

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorCollege, Undergraduate February 2008

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Portrayal of Women in Soaps By doing a textual and feminist analysis, the specific issue we examined in our study is how women's characters are portrayed in soap operas, specifically Days of Our Lives, and how their behavior is affected by the patriarchal system. The feminist and textual analysis were done through the viewing of Days of Our Lives on three consecutive Fridays. We also read related articles that gave us a better understanding of our research topic. The combination of our viewing, research and reading enabled us to do an adequate feminist and textual analysis.

Many points Harper discussed are relevant to our research question, especially those dealing with the way patriarchy affects women's roles. Harper consistently explained the use of certain stereotypes on television. A study by Tedesco in 1974 showed that 51 percent of females compared to 31 percent of males were clearly shown to be married on television drama.

Also McNeil found that 75 percent of men were gainfully employed, compared to less than half of the women. McNeil also found that when employed, a female character is less likely to have an important job and more likely to work under close supervision. These statistics found in Harper's articles support the idea that women would be better off being married and keeping a home rather than going out into the high-powered world. Harper says that although a parallel structure is apparent in soap operas, the female character will usually fail or lose her power by becoming more sensitive and caring, or by being condemned to a life of misery and loneliness. Harper says that soap opera is a feminine form because of the no real beginning or end, the multiple characters and the concentration on domestic and personal issues such as relationships and the domestic...