A comparative study of the representation of the female gender in local and foreign soap operas
This study seeks to explore the representation of the female gender in soap operas. It is a comparative study and hence will look at five soap operas purposively selected for their geographical orientation. The soaps are; Mali, Lies That Bind, The Bold and the Beautiful, Generations and El Cuerpo Del Deseo which form the scope of the study. It is argued that the mass media has been involved in the creation of ideology and by its role, sets the public agenda. For this reason the study aims to analyse how foreign soaps have impacted on locally produced soaps in the representation of the female gender. Further it seeks to explore not only the North to South cultural imperialism but also the South to South cultural imperialism. Does it resist or reinforce African values? Backed by an extensive literature review on representation (quoting notable scholars in the filed like Stuart Hall) and soap opera as a television genre (quoting Robert Allen), the researcher lays a foundation for the theoretical framework. Cultural imperialism, media imperialism and feminist theory are the theories that have been used for this study. In explaining the feminist theory, the study traces the history of the women’s movement and hinges its growing popularity on ideological and power issues which give way for the feminist media criticism. Critical discourse analysis and interpretative textual analysis are the main data collection methods for this study. They are backed up by in-depth interviews of key informants and focus groups.