ABC-CLIO

Women and Soap Opera

A Cultural Feminist Perspective

by Dannielle Blumenthal

 

Women's soap opera viewing has long been thought of by feminists and nonfeminists as an unproductive waste of time. Blumenthal takes the opposing view, arguing that women's indulgence in these programs is actually liberating.

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Cover image for Women and Soap Opera

September 1997

Praeger

Pages 152
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Popular Culture/Media, Television, and Radio
  • Hardcover

    978-0-275-96039-1

    $64.00

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    978-0-313-02523-5

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Women's soap opera viewing has long been thought of by feminists and nonfeminists as an unproductive waste of time. Blumenthal takes the opposing view, arguing that women's indulgence in these programs is actually liberating. In overcoming the social opposition to the stigma attached to the feminine content and style, and engaging in soap opera viewing, women celebrate their femininity, particularly their gendered identification with romance, relationality, intuitiveness, talkativeness, and other aspects of emotionality. This book will be of interest to academics in the areas of sociology, women's studies, and media studies.

Table of Contents

A Cultural Feminist StudyIntroductionThe Personal as Intellectual and PoliticalFeminist Study and the Academy: Research as PraxisFeminist Perspective-Taking: Some AspectsFeminist Qualitative Methodology: Some AspectsCalling All Resources: Feminist-Compatible Methodologies and MethodsThe Gender-Context Perspective and Its AntecedentsConventional Wisdom: "Effects" and "Gratifications"Complicating the Subject: "Audience Response"The Politics of Meaning Construction: Feminist PerspectivesA Gender-Context Perspective: Women's Soap Opera Viewing as Interrelated Components of a Feminist PraxisThe Interplay between Women Viewers and Gendered TextOn Soaps: Feminine-Oriented Emotionality as an AttractionOn Talkshows: Masculinized Emotion Displays as a TurnoffOn Feminism: The Interplay between Identity Construction and Meaning Construction in the Act of ViewingFeminist Scholarship on the Gendered Soap Opera TextArriving at a Feminist AestheticAcademic Conceptualizations of Soap Opera Form and ContentFeminist Scholarship on Soap Operas: The Feminine Aesthetic as a Feminist AestheticThe Gendered Social Contexts of Women's Soap Opera ViewingOvercoming the Social Devaluation of Women's Soap Opera ViewingSoap Operas as Self-Nurturance: Setting Aside Time Away from Caring for OthersSoap Operas as Communal WomanspaceConclusion: Implications of the Study for Future ResearchBibliographyIndex

Reviews/Endorsements

Reviews

...provides a succinct synopsis of broad feminist issues and their impact on methodological and critical approaches that all readers can appreciate.—Popular Culture Association in the South Newsletter

Endorsements

With her book, Dannielle Blumenthal does for daytime soap operas what Janice Radway did for romance novels. Blumenthal takes a genre that traditionally has been undervalued by society, as well as communication researchers, and shows how soap opera viewing is an empowering activity for women. A strength of Blumenthal's work is the range of methods she applies to the study of daytime soap operas--content analysis, surveys of soap opera viewers, and analysis of open-ended comments from the viewers themselves. Blumenthal's analysis resolves some of the contradictions inherent in understanding the appeal of soap operas--how a genre that simplifies and trivializes some of women's concerns can empower women and be a feminist activity.—Elizabeth M. Perse^LAssociate Professor, Department of Communication^LUniversity of Delaware

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