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In what sense would you describe soap as a women's genre?

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Introduction

In what sense would you describe soap as a women's genre? The target audience for the origin of the genre Soap Operas was started by sexism in the 1930's. Daytime dramas were aired on Radio targeted directly at the housewives of America. Though throughout time the audience evolved and more men started to take notice, however I believe society still connotes femininity with Soap Opera's. Soaps have always had a high emotional content; this feature alone generates more female interest then male because of the true stereotype of emotional women. This is still evident in the most current soaps still using emotions as a centre of their storylines. In EastEnders in the last 4months there has been passionate love affairs, emotional reunions and a wedding. These dramas are associated with women and emotions e.g. tears at a wedding, falling in love. This shows that soaps attempt to 'pull on the heart strings' of their audience, and with this a judgement and fondness of a character is developed and so develops the addiction to the story/characters. ...read more.

Middle

Alternatively Hollyoaks supply an almost endless amount of generic blonde, toned, pretty girls for their audience. I think the difference with this lies within target audiences. EastEnders wouldn't want to upset their main target audience (20 -40yr old women), however Hollyoaks young audience (14 - 21yr old teenagers) means females would feel admiration for the girls and their male audience would also enjoy the females. Soap Opera's are catering for more male viewers by including storylines that borrow from popular masculine films (think Lock Stock, Reservoir Dogs). The gangster genre has been featured heavily in EastEnders throughout the last 5years, mainly starring the Mitchell brothers. The duo create a masculine bond that most males can empathise with, either they would have shared the same loyalty to a best mate or a brother. This can touch an emotion in a male in an unobvious way. Whilst women would probably fear and despise wife-beater drunk Phil Mitchell, a male could understand his loyalty to his brother and fondness for a beer. ...read more.

Conclusion

The main content structure is also very feminine. Soap's really rely on a basis gossip and scandal to make a storyline. They take place in small settings where everybody knows each other making it 'very cosy', and the storylines are generally very domestic. These are very feminine features that also add to Soap Opera's being trivialized by society as a woman's genre. It's easier for woman to predict the outcomes of domestically focused storyline because they may have experienced the same situation or more likely to have read about a love affair then a male. But Soaps are polysemic, offering different meanings to each viewer (e.g. as how the male interprets Phil Mitchell different to the female). This makes it's too vague to say that Soaps are just a female genre. However, stereotypically women are renowned for their fascination of gossip and scandal, and as soaps try to reflect realism, surely the basis of them being gossip and scandal shows that they are truly trying to depict a typical woman's world. ...read more.

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