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Masculinity and Popular Television$
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Rebecca Feasey

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780748627974

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748627974.001.0001

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Soap opera: the male role in the women’s genre

Soap opera: the male role in the women’s genre

(p.7) 2. Soap opera: the male role in the women’s genre
Masculinity and Popular Television

Rebecca Feasey

Edinburgh University Press

Soap opera has traditionally focused on the home, the family, domestic tribulations and the strong woman, and, as such, has long been said to appeal to the female viewer. However, recently, the genre has tried to extend its audience by introducing several central male characters in order to attract the man in the audience and a wider range of television advertisers. This chapter begins by introducing a short history of soap opera. It considers the representation of women in the genre before looking at the changing depiction of masculinities in British prime-time shows such as Coronation Street, Emmerdale and EastEnders. It focuses on the ways in which masculine gossip, the blurring of the public and private sphere, and issues surrounding paternity can all be seen to negotiate traditional representations of hegemonic masculinity and the dominant male role. Although the chapter focuses on mapping out the key codes and conventions of the popular British soap operas, it also considers US soap operas and determines the similarities in formal and thematic elements between British and US soap operas.

Keywords:   soap opera, representation of women, masculinities, Coronation Street, Emmerdale, EastEnders, masculine gossip, hegemonic masculinity, dominant male role

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