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Women's Genres

by: Ryan Furness

Women's Genres BRC 350

Ryan Furness
SUNY Oswego
GPA 2.69

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About this Document

These notes romance novels and soap operas
Children Women and Minorities in the media
Dr Jennifer Fogel
Class Notes
25 ?




Popular in Children Women and Minorities in the media

Popular in Broadcasting

This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Ryan Furness on Thursday September 22, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to BRC 350 at SUNY College at Oswego taught by Dr Jennifer Fogel in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 2 views. For similar materials see Children Women and Minorities in the media in Broadcasting at SUNY College at Oswego.

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Date Created: 09/22/16
 (So-called) Women’s Genres Dr. Jennifer Fogel SUNY-Oswego 9/22/16  Women’s Genres  “If television is considered by some to be a vast wasteland, soap operas are thought to be the least nourishing spot in the desert”  Popular narrative forms aimed at female audiences have been both denigrated and praised  Yet these genres are enjoyed by millions of women  Why do women watch this stuff?  Women’s Genres  Connecting representation, encoding/decoding, and spectatorship  What does “aimed at a female audience” mean?  How do women find these mostly patriarchal texts pleasurable?  Importantly, this could not be done simply by analyzing the texts – need audience analysis  Audience Analysis/Reception  Audience Research: assumes that the meaning of pop culture could be understood better if one would only ask the audience about their interpretations, use & experience  Why and how women watch and interpret these texts, and how their decoding of meaning contributes to the subversion, negotiation or maintenance of hegemonic gender roles.  Reading the Romance (1994)  Radway performs both textual and audience research on romance novels  Found: ◦ Novels provided women w/escape or relaxation, & instruction ◦ Provides care & nurturance they miss in everyday life ◦ Reading as self-improvement: encourage others to read thereby it legitimates romance reading  Reading the Romance  Experience of reading the novels gives them hope, provides pleasure, and causes contentment.  But how? Aren’t these books dominated by men who temporarily abuse the heroine? ◦ All depends on how they decode the romance ◦ Women, in fact, don’t like the double standard ◦ Pleasure is directly related to the heroine and how the hero treats her  Women’s preferred masculinity  The “good” male is caring, nurturing, and verbal; rarely expresses his masculinity in direct action  The ideal male, who is masculine and strong, yet nurturant, finally admits his recognition of the intrinsic worth of the heroine  Behavior associated with the stereotype of male machismo can never be forgiven or reread as the signs of love  50 Shades of Grey  Soap Operas  Dramatic story series that involve numerous characters ◦ Named for the principal advertisers who were soap & other household products, aimed at homemakers ◦ Set important new standards for daytime TV – social issues  Soap Operas  Soap operas formed from serials as serials became increasingly complex, with multiple and overlapping plot lines  (1980s): Romance became an escape from business/economic problems  (1990s): Focus on Social Issues (Mental Health, Drug & Alcohol Abuse, Sex and Relationships) ◦ General Hospital – HIV/AIDS storyline  Soap opera form  Eight characteristics: ◦ Serial form which resists narrative closure ◦ Multiple characters & plots ◦ Use of time which parallels actual time & implies that the action continues to take place whether we watch or not ◦ Abrupt segmentation between parts ◦ Emphasis on dialogue, problem solving, intimate conversation  Soap opera form  Eight characteristics cont… ◦ Male characters who are “sensitive men” ◦ Female characters who are often professional & otherwise powerful in the world outside their home ◦ The home, or some other place which functions as a home, as the setting for the show  Constant Disruption  SO are never in a state of equilibrium – world is one of perpetual disturbance and threat.  Marriage – couples don’t live happily ever after. ◦ Can read marriage differently than the ideology preferred by patriarchy  Ex: A woman’s affair  Women admit their delight in following SOs as stories of female transgressions  Reading “Disruption”  Read patriarchally – fans are able to return to their more “normal” marriages with a sense of relief.  Alternatively, powerful women who disrupt men’s power are both praised & condemned  Pleasure in soap operas’ constant deferment  SOs defining feature is narratives motivated by female desire & identification w/the female point-of-view  Issues with Soaps  Many people have a problem taking Soap Operas seriously. The very fact that they are popular often categorizes soaps as unworthy of study.  Soaps offer a “feminine culture” of themes, values, & styles that women know particularly well  General Hospital  Luke and Laura  1979 General Hospital: Luke rapes Laura.  They eventually marry in 1981.  Negotiating the rape storyline ◦ Rape became “semi-consensual” ◦ Writers re-wrote history to make the super-couple palatable to fans  Other Women’s Genres  Romantic Comedies ?  Romantic “stalkers?”  Oppositional Readings  What happens when Edward Cullen from the Twilight Series meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer?  Pro-feminist visual critique of Edward’s character and generally creepy behavior  Oppositional Reading  Discussion  So why do women watch or read?  How does talking to audiences/women provide a different assessment of the role of this media in their lives of women than we might gain just from analyzing the texts?  Why are audience studies particularly of interest to feminist scholars?


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