Get thee to the Soap Opera Network board… NOW!

Move it people!  There’s a discussion for fabulous posted there that it nearly brought tears to my eyes!  The topic?  Misogyny and the Media, most especially in DAYTIME!  The topic starter is as follows:

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The New York Times’ Bob Herbert has a terrific op-ed “Women at Risk” that’s a must read. From his piece:

But we should take particular notice of the staggering amounts of violence brought down on the nation’s women and girls each and every day for no other reason than who they are. They are attacked because they are female.
We profess to being shocked at one or another of these outlandish crimes, but the shock wears off quickly in an environment in which the rape, murder and humiliation of females is not only a staple of the news, but an important cornerstone of the nation’s entertainment.

The mainstream culture is filled with the most gruesome forms of misogyny, and pornography is now a multibillion-dollar industry — much of it controlled by mainstream U.S. corporations.

Herbert also distills clearly what defines misogyny:

There have been plenty of posts on this board about how misogynistic the soaps are, especially GH and Y&R. My question is why is misogyny considered entertainment? Can anyone explain this to me? The great Hollywood movies from the 30s and 40s showed women as strong, confident and equal to men. Why is that in 2009 we seem more backwards than we were in 1939?

Are the declining soap ratings a result of female viewers sick of misogynistic stories? Or is misogyny a “winning” formula for ratings?

Are soap writers simply a reflection of the culture we live in? It just seems like everything has devolved. Erica Kane could always take care of herself (Bears, beware!) but her daughter needs to be rescued by Zach & Ryan. Todd Manning gets to “evolve” from gang rapist/serial rapist to romantic leading man with two gorgeous women fighting over him. Sonny Corinthos shot his wife in the head and it was all good. Victor Newman tortured a man who crossed him but his son is torturing an innocent woman, killed her baby and burned the fetus, because she’s a woman & therefore a “soft target”. In a genre chock full of misogyny, that probably takes the cake for the most explicitly misogynistic “story” ever.

Is misogyny endemic to the genre? Do women want to see this sort of thing? If so, why?

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My response:

I think misogyny is KILLING daytime. As a woman, I’m having a harder time rationalizing the fact that I continue to watch. I blog about the misogyny in daytime, rail against it, pen my own storylines – things I’d like to see happen, and then start tuning out the stuff that makes me cringe.

As women transitioned into the workforce offscreen, they remained disproportionately powerless onscreen in daytime. Even when they’re in the workforce, they almost ALWAYS work for a more powerful male. ATWT’s Lucinda Walsh is the one exception, but she keeps losing her company to a more clever and devious male when she should be eating these jerks for lunch.

If one more woman falls on Sonny’s pecker on GH, or fights the other toon in love with him (that other toon is less-affectionately referred to as “yet another baby’s mama”), I will just scream bloody murder. Just how many more children will that loser get to create? Name ONE woman in daytime with that many children with almost as many partners. When YnR’s Victor told Nikki she’d still be stripping in the joint he found her in if it wasn’t for him… I tuned out. I haven’t been able to watch them in a scene together since then.

BTW, anyone notice that after the BnB’s Stephanie accepted responsibility for her role in sending a mad man after Brooke Logan, a man who eventually raped her, she told Brooke that she didn’t deserve to be raped and she was never a ‘whore’ as Steph had called her for years? Now she’s back to calling the Logan women whores and telling them they’re worthless. YaY writers. :(

What are your thoughts on the subject?  If you’re not registered, you can still read the thread – but I sure hope a lot of you show up to post!  While I love the topic, I would love it even more if daytime writers weighed in on what image of women they believe they’re sharing with the audience.  I’d love to know from daytime writers if they think the women they show us each day resemble real life women in any way at all.  I’d love to know who has the power to gather daytime writers together and give us a ‘fans forum’ with them (online, via television and call-in, name the place, format, and time!)

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3 thoughts on “Get thee to the Soap Opera Network board… NOW!

  1. The women I see on daytime certaily don’t resemble the women I see in the real world. You could argue that daytime is fantasy for women but I don’t see much wish fulfillment in female characters who are not even as powerful or independent or self respecting as your average woman in real life.

  2. Are you serious? Someone finally put one and one together and got two? Oh my freaking Lord!

    TPTB in daytime love to blame everything under the sun for their falling ratings except themselves. Ed Scott gave a fabulous interview with Michael Logan where he stated the receipe to save daytime wasnt’ hard to follow…you just had to work hard, work fast and you had to concentrate on the basics of storytelling. And considering Days used to be on the same deathlist GL lived on for the last two years….and now NBC is taking a bit of pride in it…….well clearly Ed Scott was right.

    Respect your audience and the audience will respect you.

  3. i came across norrthpier.wordpress.com from google, this is a great forum i will be coming often.
    i’m Ruth Austin , currently working in San Francisco .Very glad to know everyone here.

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