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Soap Operas.

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Introduction

Lauren Martone 11/13/03 Paper #3 Soap Operas In popular media, there is a great deal of sexual content that is portrayed through characters and plot. This type of content tends to depict women in a stereotypical and objective light. Why are audiences, or more specifically women, attracted to soap operas? Why do soap operas attract women audiences? Is it the sexual content, or the power they get from watching it? Being sexual can translate into having power, especially for the female gender. Exposure to sexually oriented media content can influence the ways viewers feel about themselves, their relationships, and what is "normal" sexual behavior. Along with this, the use of attractive models gives the audience someone, or something to imitate. When characters are shown as powerful, prestigious, and rewarded for their behaviors, viewers, especially younger ones, are more likely to learn and imitate their behaviors. This is why there is much focus on the consequences of sex, so that adolescences, who are beginning their sexual lives, don't get the wrong image. Television soap operas are long running serials traditionally based on the close study of personal relationships within the every day life of its characters. They also have a high level of sexual content, and in recent years have incorporated storylines on topics of homosexuality, transsexuality, and oral sex and well as AIDS, abstinence, and contraception. ...read more.

Middle

difference, and gender, a culturally constructed set of assumptions about what is supposed to be appropriate for women and for men, respectively. While the soap opera audience contains men as well as women, the genre "soap opera" carries heavily feminine connotations in contemporary culture. A soap operas audience is depicted as predominantly female, and interpreting the messages soap opera plots transmit to women as well. Soaps can either narrow its ramifications by specifying the kinds of women it describes (in terms of class, race, sexual orientation, nationality, age, and so on) or runs the risk of invoking a universalized "woman" whose affiliation with the codes of femininity is assumed as a norm. I do not aspire to generalize about "women" as viewers of soap operas, except to say that the cultural construction of femininity inevitably resonates with every woman's identity, whether she identifies with feminine codes, rejects them, or--more likely in postmodern U.S. culture--positions herself somewhere in the middle of the sliding scale of gender affiliation. In focusing on gender (femininity) rather than sex (women) in soap opera viewing, includes men who are as dedicated to watching soaps as their female counterparts, and who are, in that sense, full participants in this aspect of feminine culture. I think that the movement of a soap's plot structures affects lives in much the same way as daily "box scores" do for sports fans. ...read more.

Conclusion

Women fall into the two stereotypical images of the "good woman" and the "bad woman," the good women being family orientated and non-sexual, and the latter being openly seductive and using sex as a weapon. There are so many underlying reasons for the meaning of sexuality in the female gender. The questions that were raised about how seriously people are affected by the content of soaps, I imagine would be difficult to determine. There are so many underlying connotations that depict women in a certain light that I don't know if it is possible to escape all of them, especially if there is an audience of young viewers. If this is true, then why are women so attracted to soap operas? Maybe the tragedies that occur within each episode make reality seem less hectic, and help a person feel more "normal." If I were to speculate on the potential effects of viewing such content, I would say that viewers are getting ample information about sexual activity that promotes the idea that sexual activity is appropriate and beneficial fro heterosexual couples in established relationships. An individual's morals and values about sex should stem from the home. It is the parents' job to try and teach their children what sex and being a sexual person is all about. If these values are implemented, the young viewer should be able to decipher between what is right, what is wrong, and what is exaggerated. ...read more.

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