The Soaps: Their Sex, Gratifications, and Outcomes.
Welcome to Sunset Beach Sunset Beach may refer to:
1. Of or existing in myth: the mythical unicorn.
2. Imaginary; fictitious.
3. but definitely southern California Southern California, also colloquially known as SoCal, is the southern portion of the U.S. state of California. Centered on the cities of Los Angeles and San Diego, Southern California is home to nearly 24 million people and is the nation's second most populated region, home of one of daytime television's newest soap operas This is a list of Soap operas by country of origin. Argentina
adj. chest·i·er, chest·i·est Informal
1. Having a large or well-developed chest or bust.
2. Arrogant or proud; conceited. , and an equivalent group of men, all of whom are extraordinarily handsome, slender, and muscular. The world of Sunset Beach has the same cadre (company) CADRE - The US software engineering vendor which merged with Bachman Information Systems to form Cayenne Software in July 1996. of characters as every other soap.
Who Are the Soap Stereotypes?
There is Annie, the young slut/bitch. Annie is 25 years old and sleeps with everyone on the show who has something she wants. She is rich, manipulative ma·nip·u·la·tive
Serving, tending, or having the power to manipulate.
Any of various objects designed to be moved or arranged by hand as a means of developing motor skills or understanding abstractions, especially in , and amoral a·mor·al
1. Not admitting of moral distinctions or judgments; neither moral nor immoral.
2. Lacking moral sensibility; not caring about right and wrong. . Deep down, Annie is only looking for Looking for
In the context of general equities, this describing a buy interest in which a dealer is asked to offer stock, often involving a capital commitment. Antithesis of in touch with. true friendship and love, neither of which favor her. Without Annie's shenanigans shenanigans
1. mischief or nonsense
2. trickery or deception [origin unknown] , there would be very little to see or do in Sunset Beach.
There is Olivia, the mature slut/bitch. Olivia is 45 years old and, in response to a philandering but very rich husband (now married temporarily to Annie), found her own substitute sex partners, one of whom was the future husband of her daughter. So now, the once pregnant Olivia has to ponder Ponder - A non-strict polymorphic, functional language by Jon Fairbairn <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Ponder's type system is unusual. It is more powerful than the Hindley-Milner type system used by ML and Miranda and extended by Haskell. whether the child she produced came from her husband or her son-in-law. Of course, that child was stolen from her at birth by Annie and given to Olivia's daughter, to replace the fetus fetus, term used to describe the unborn offspring in the uterus of vertebrate animals after the embryonic stage (see embryo). In humans, the fetal stage begins seven to eight weeks after fertilization of the egg, when the embryo assumes the basic shape of the newborn lost in a car accident. This means that Olivia is pretending to be the grandmother of her own child, sired by either her former husband or her current son-in-law! Are you keeping up?
Meg, the suffering virgin, is in her early 20s. This is the Juliet role. Her primary function is to cry. She sleeps only with her intended. She has true friends and true love, but everything conspires to keep her from the bliss we want her to have. For example, her recent wedding ceremony was interrupted by the arrival of her new husband's presumably pre·sum·a·ble
That can be presumed or taken for granted; reasonable as a supposition: presumable causes of the disaster. dead wife, a victim of five years of amnesia amnesia (ămnē`zhə), [Gr.,=forgetfulness], condition characterized by loss of memory for long or short intervals of time. It may be caused by injury, shock, senility, severe illness, or mental disease. . Only Meg has two "normal" parents, who have trivial roles.
Their male counterparts include Gregory, the rich and unscrupulous philanderer phi·lan·der
intr.v. phi·lan·dered, phi·lan·der·ing, phi·lan·ders
1. To carry on a sexual affair, especially an extramarital affair, with a woman one cannot or does not intend to marry. Used of a man.
2. . He is 45, owns everything worth owning in Sunset Beach, and uses that power to get women and men to do what he wants. But he loves his children and does whatever he thinks is necessary to keep them away from those trashy people who are not rich.
There is Ben, the mysterious Romeo of the cast. We don't know Don't know (DK, DKed)
"Don't know the trade." A Street expression used whenever one party lacks knowledge of a trade or receives conflicting instructions from the other party. where he came from, because he has an accent that is either English or a speech impediment speech impediment n → defecto del habla
speech impediment n → défaut m d'élocution
speech impediment speech n . He is wealthy and handsome, and he broods all the time. Three gorgeous women are after him, but it is Ben's late wife who reappeared five years after she was believed to have drowned. Viewers who couldn't get enough of Ben watched six months of his evil, sadistic sa·dism
1. The deriving of sexual gratification or the tendency to derive sexual gratification from inflicting pain or emotional abuse on others.
2. The deriving of pleasure, or the tendency to derive pleasure, from cruelty. , identical twin brother wreaking havoc on the show, pretending to be Ben.
Actually, Ben's mysterious past is matched by most of the cast. As the series matures, everyone's past emerges with information that damages their current relationships. The most common element, of course, is a consistent undertone of infidelity in the past, which stamps them as unlikely to be faithful to today's love object.
Finally, there are the male lifeguards of Sunset Beach, Tweedledum and Tweedledee Tweedledum and Tweedledee
two little fat men who quickly get out-of-breath. [Br. Lit.: Lewis Carroll Through the Looking Glass]
See : Fatness
Tweedledum and Tweedledee
identical characters in children’s fantasy. [Br. Lit. or Michael and Casey, whose primary roles have been to show off their pecs and glutes in their bathing suits.
Most of these people reside in the traditional families of a soap opera soap opera
Broadcast serial drama, characterized by a permanent cast of actors, a continuing story, tangled interpersonal situations, and a melodramatic or sentimental style. , one or two of which are very rich and one or two of which are not, and the infinite connections between them. We hasten has·ten
v. has·tened, has·ten·ing, has·tens
To move or act swiftly.
1. To cause to hurry.
2. to add that this soap has a Hispanic family with three adult children--a cop, a priest, and an amnesiac am·ne·si·ac
One who is afflicted with amnesia.
n a person affected by amnesia. sister--and a fortune-teller mother. A small, fatherless Black family is also on this show.
Who Watches the Daytime Soaps on a Regular Basis?
A national survey of 3800 adults by the Los Angeles Times Los Angeles Times
Morning daily newspaper. Established in 1881, it was purchased and incorporated in 1884 by Harrison Gray Otis (1837–1917) under The Times-Mirror Co. (the hyphen was later dropped from the name). Mirror Center for The People & The Press (Greenberg & Rampoldi-Hnilo, 1994) included a question asking respondents if they regularly watched daytime soap operas. Seventeen percent said they did, data which, when projected to the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. population 18 years and over, indicates about 30,000,000 who describe themselves as regular viewers (Greenberg & Rampoldi-Hnilo, 1994). Given a tendency for some viewers to want to keep others from knowing that they regularly watch soaps, that is an extraordinary number. You may add 3 to 5 million adolescent viewers who are too young to be in that sample.
For the week of April 19-23, 1999, the highest rated soap opera was The Young and the Restless, averaging 6.5 million households for each episode (TV Guide, 1999). The next nine soaps accumulated 32 million households each day (ranging from 2 to 4.7 million), and our own chestnut, Sunset Beach, was watched by 1.5 millions households each day. Note that this totals 40 million daily households, without being able to sort out viewers of multiple soaps. Who are the most regular viewers? Table 1 provides the relevant data to support the finding that soaps are more likely to be watched by women more than men, younger and older adults more than mid-age adults, nonwhites more than whites, single adults than married adults, the less educated, those with lower incomes, non-working women, Easterners and Southerners, and those living in small cities or towns. By race and religion, Black Evangelicals are most likely to watch.
Table 1. Regular Viewers of Soaps Regular Viewers (%) Gender Women 26 Men 7 Ethnicity Non-Whites 27 Whites 15 Education Less than high school 27 High school grad 18 Some college 14 Four-year degree 9 Employment among women Non-working women 36 Working women 10 Location Small cities/towns 20 Large cities 17 Rural areas 16 Suburbs 12 Age 18-29 19 30-49 13 50+ 19 Marital Status Single 20 Married 13 Divorced/Separated 17 Income below $10,000 36 >$10,000-$20,000 23 >$20,000-$30,000 17 >$30,000-$50,000 12 >$50,000+ 9 Region of the country South and East 19 Midwest 15 West 12 Race/Religion Black Protestant Evangelicals 36 Non-Evangelicals 23 White Protestant Evangelicals 16 Non-Evangelicals 14 Catholics 17 Jews 13
Note. These findings are reported in Greenberg & Rampoldi (1994).
An overall composite of these traits characterizes the most regular soap opera viewer as a particularly vulnerable individual. She is not working, is less educated, has a smaller family income, and is an ethnic minority. Although these traits are preeminent pre·em·i·nent or pre-em·i·nent
Superior to or notable above all others; outstanding. See Synonyms at dominant, noted.
[Middle English, from Latin prae in a minority of the population, that minority contains several millions of viewers. And the best bet is that those same defining characteristics describe an even larger portion of adolescent viewers (i.e., not working, lower socioeconomic status socioeconomic status,
n the position of an individual on a socio-economic scale that measures such factors as education, income, type of occupation, place of residence, and in some populations, ethnicity and religion. , and ethnic minority).
Why Do They Watch the Soaps?
A recent study of 100 high school girls High School Girls (女子高生 Joshi Kōsei (Woods, 1998) asked about 23 possible reasons for watching television soap operas. The top 10 reasons were (a) I just enjoy watching them, (b) it gives me something to do, (c) soaps are fun, (d) they fill up time, (e) it's a pleasant way to rest, (f) they relax me, (g) soaps are a habit, (h) I can forget about school, (I) I can get away from my family, and (j) soaps cheer me up.
When we apply the statistical method of factor analysis to this set of items, we find four major clusters of items that identify meaningful components of their orientation to this particular television content. They are specified and itemized in Table 2.
Table 2. Gratification Items by Factor Escape (alpha = .88) Soaps help me when I want to get away from others in my family. Soaps help me forget when I am alone. Soaps calm me down. Soaps give me company. Soaps help me when I want to forget about school and homework. Soaps help me to forget my problems. Soaps relax me. Social learning (alpha = .87) Soaps help me learn from the mistakes of others. Soaps help me learn how I'm supposed to act in different situations and places. Soaps help me learn what could happen to me. Soaps help me learn how to do things I've never done before. Soaps help me know what's going on in the world. Social excitement (alpha = .85) Soaps give me thrills. Soaps excite me. Soaps are almost like a friend. I just enjoy watching soaps. Habit (alpha = .74) Soaps are fun. Soaps fill up time. Soaps are a pleasant way to rest. Soaps give me something to do when I haven't got anything to do.
The primary gratifications are Escapism es·cap·ism
The tendency to escape from daily reality or routine by indulging in daydreaming, fantasy, or entertainment. , Social Learning, Social Excitement, and Habit. Escapism is the preeminent motive for adolescent females, to assist them in avoiding unpleasantries. The Social Learning factor encompasses adolescents' use of soaps for learning about social behaviors In biology, psychology and sociology social behavior is behavior directed towards, or taking place between, members of the same species. Behavior such as predation which involves members of different species is not social. . Social Excitement shows adolescents responding to their general need for some excitement in their lives. The extent to which soaps have become a routine part of their daily lives is reflected in the Habit gratification GRATIFICATION. A reward given voluntarily for some service or benefit rendered, without being requested so to do, either expressly or by implication. .
From this pool of adolescents, a relatively parsimonious par·si·mo·ni·ous
Excessively sparing or frugal.
parsi·mo set of gratifications emerges. How does this compare with previous outcomes? Prior research has focused exclusively on adult soap viewers, so comparisons with our adolescent females are tenuous tenuous Intensive care adjective Referring to a 'touch-and-go,' uncertain, or otherwise 'iffy' clinical situation but informative. We shall briefly review them in chronological order, given that the content of soaps shifts in emphasis over time, although the basic plot lines invariably in·var·i·a·ble
Not changing or subject to change; constant.
in·vari·a·bil deal with relational conflicts.
Compesi (1980) mailed surveys consisting of 52 gratification items to viewers of All My Children. His thesis was that soap viewers used the programs to seek advice as the primary gratification, and he sought to rank various motives as to their importance. He found seven factors, which ordered as follows: entertainment, habit, convenience, social utility, relaxation, escape from boredom, and reality exploration/advice. Compesi concluded that viewers are hesitant to use soaps as a form of advice, and that the use of soaps as an agent for creating a social network is nearly as unimportant un·im·por·tant
Not important; petty.
unim·portance n. to viewers.
Greenberg, Neuendorf, Buerkel-Rothfuss, and Henderson (1982) found that regular soap viewers watched primarily for excitement, to relax, to pass time, and "because they provide companionship companionship
the faculty possessed by most truly domesticated animals. They are social creatures and have a great need for the companionship of other animals. Animals in groups are quieter and more productive as a rule. " (p. 530). This study determined that heavier television viewers used soaps as a source of information to "deal better with problems" (p. 530). A significant correlation was reported between perceiving oneself in an advisory role (on health, marriage, romance or children) and the usefulness of information obtained from soaps on those subjects, although soap fans did not consider themselves more qualified to advise others.
Rubin (1985) made a dichotomous di·chot·o·mous
1. Divided or dividing into two parts or classifications.
2. Characterized by dichotomy.
di·chot distinction between two sets of motives for viewing. One focused on ritualized viewing, a "more habitual Regular or customary; usual.
A habitual drunkard, for example, is an individual who regularly becomes intoxicated as opposed to a person who drinks infrequently. use of television for diversionary reasons" (p. 243), and the second centered on instrumental viewing, a goal-directed use of television content. He sought to discover how these motives interrelate in·ter·re·late
tr. & intr.v. in·ter·re·lat·ed, in·ter·re·lat·ing, in·ter·re·lates
To place in or come into mutual relationship.
in with his respondents' viewing dispositions and life patterns. Rubin obtained four viewing factors: Orientation, Avoidance, Diversion, and Social Utility. Orientation referred to the soap viewer's motive of reality exploration, or attempting to determine how others think and act. Avoidance referred to escapism, tension-release, and filling time. Diversion contained elements of entertainment, relaxation, and amusement. Social Utility was the interactive function, "seeking to meet or spend time with other persons and to acquire topics for subsequent conversation" (p. 254). Rubin then correlated these gratification components with affinity for soaps, involvement in soaps, life satisfaction, and social interaction. He found that involvement correlated highly and positively with all these motives, especially with Orientation (r = .73). Soap affinity correlated positively with all four, but to a lesser degree than involvement. Soap affinity also correlated with involvement (r = .50), which, to him, seemed "to reflect a sense of importance afforded to soap operas and a perception of interaction with the stories and the characters" (p. 248). Life satisfaction correlated negatively with all factors except for Diversion, with which it was uncorrelated. Social interaction was not correlated with any gratification dimension.
Carveth and Alexander (1985) attempted to fuse Rubin's (1985) uses and gratifications Uses and gratifications, also known as usage and gratifications or needs and gratifications, is not a single approach but a body of approaches to media analysis that developed out of many varied empirical studies, beginning in the mid 20th century. conception with the cultivation hypothesis that heavy television viewers will make estimates as to the frequency of specific groups and selected behaviors that are more in accord with the frequency of television portrayals than their real life frequencies. They found support for the contention that exposure and motivation interact in making cultivation estimates. The more ritualistic rit·u·al·is·tic
1. Relating to ritual or ritualism.
2. Advocating or practicing ritual.
rit viewers demonstrated a more pronounced cultivation effect, as contrasted with the instrumental viewers.
Babrow (1987) compared the various gratifications sought by individuals from soaps and from more generic viewing of television. He administered a questionnaire that first asked for reasons for watching soaps, and then asked about expectations from viewing television more generally. The two sets of responses were virtually the same, correlating .84. In addition, respondents were asked to give reasons to watch soaps and reasons to avoid watching soaps. They listed more reasons to watch than to avoid watching (t (142) = 4.09, p [is less than] .001). At the top of the list were time considerations, both in terms of filling time and wasting it. Other reasons offered spontaneously by at least 9% of the respondents included diversion, the quality of shows (again, both plus and minus), social interaction, and arousal arousal /arous·al/ (ah-rou´z'l)
1. a state of responsiveness to sensory stimulation or excitability.
2. the act or state of waking from or as if from sleep.
3. . Three reasons were unique to soap gratifications: the serial format (the story is never ending, or you can and cannot predict what will happen), the sex and romance (there's too much sex and the sex is good), and character development (the characters are so complex, yet they are such interesting people).
Dark grayish blue or purple.
[Middle English pers, from Old French, from Medieval Latin persus, back-formation from Latin Persicus, Persian, from Greek and Rubin (1988) looked at media activity before, during, and after exposure to predict program satisfaction in the context of viewing gratifications. Six motives were identified: to get exciting entertainment, to pass time, voyeurism Voyeurism
See also Eavesdropping.
turned into stag for watching Artemis bathe. [Gk. Myth.: Leach, 8]
elders of Babylon
watch Susanna bathe. , to escape/relax, for information, and for social utility. Other variables included in their predictive model were program attitudes (one's affinity for soap operas and perceived realism), program exposure, viewing intention, viewing attention, parasocial interaction Parasocial interaction (or para-social relationship) is a term used by a social scientist to describe one-sided, parasocial interpersonal relationships in which one party knows a great deal about the other, but the other does not. , postviewing cognition cognition
Act or process of knowing. Cognition includes every mental process that may be described as an experience of knowing (including perceiving, recognizing, conceiving, and reasoning), as distinguished from an experience of feeling or of willing. , postviewing discussion, and program satisfaction. The most substantial predictors of program satisfaction were viewing attention (beta = .26, p [is less than] .001), parasocial interaction (beta = .21, p [is less than] .002), and two motives--seeking exciting entertainment (beta = .18, p [is less than] .02) and to escape/relax (beta = .14, p [is less than] .02).
From this set of prior studies emerge a number of gratifications that, either in name or in composition, match those we have identified for adolescent girls who watch soap operas. Excitement or arousal, diversion or filling time, avoidance or escape, social interaction or social utility or companionship, and social learning or orientation are all sets of alternative terms, created by different investigators, for very similar conceptions. Thus, the findings for soaps and adolescent gratifications are a close match to those for soaps and adult gratifications. Clearly, one would project the time order from the younger to the older (i.e., the gratifications sought during adolescence continue during adulthood), although there may be some shift in emphasis or priority, an issue not yet tested.
What's Sex Like on the Soaps?
Let us take a brief look at sex in soaps, from studies done in 1985 (Greenberg & D'Alessio, 1985), replicated in 1994 (Greenberg & Busselle, 1996), and enlarged in 1996 (Heintz-Knowles, 1996). We shall first compare the two earlier studies and then amend the conclusions, if necessary, from the most recent study.
Ten hours of each of five soaps in 1994 yielded 333 incidents of sexual activity. This translates to an average of 6.6 acts portrayed or referenced each soap hour. Three soaps analyzed in both 1985 and 1994 showed a 35% increase in sexual activity. The most common sexual activity in both decades was intercourse between two people not married to each other; there were 120 instances of unmarried intercourse (2.4 times per hour) in the 1994 sample. The next most common topic, rape, was presented 1.4 times per hour; two rape story lines accounted for all 71 references. Long kissing was seen 1.1 times per hour. Intercourse between married couples was shown or referred to .72 times per hour. Prostitution and petting were infrequent in·fre·quent
1. Not occurring regularly; occasional or rare: an infrequent guest.
2. . Homosexual acts or references did not occur.
There were two noticeable differences between 1985 and 1994 within the three soaps common to both studies. Rape increased from one rape reference per 10 episodes to more than one per episode. Intercourse between unmarried partners increased from 1.56 to 1.83 per hour, or one more act every four hours. All other changes were trivial.
What Do We Actually See?
Soap operas inform us with dialogue much more often than they show us with pictures. Of the 333 acts in the 1994 sample, 225 were verbal references, with no visual counterpart; soap viewers hear about sex twice as often as they see it. This is true of all types of sexual activity except long kisses, which were shown 57 times in our sample (1.1 times per hour), but never talked about. The second sex topic to be seen by the viewer with any regularity was unmarried intercourse, visually portrayed 32 times (.64 times per hour), but talked about nearly three times as often (88 acts, 1.8 times per hour).
Among the participants portrayed in any sexual activity, 29% were not married at the time, but their marital history was unknown; 21% were married to each other; another 21% had never been married; 9% were divorced or widowed; and 8% were married to someone else. The remainder were not codable.
Demographically, participants in sexual activity were 87% White and 10% African-American; 12% were teenagers, 31% were in their 20s, 28% were in their 30s, 23% were in their 40s, and only 4% were 50 or older. Half the participants expressed positive attitudes toward their sexual activity, 20% were negative, and the rest were noncommittal.
Married couples having intercourse were overwhelmingly positive about their activity; all husbands were positive and only two wives were negative. Husbands were older than their wives generally; 54% of the husbands were in their 40s compared to 23% of the wives. The initiation of sex was evenly divided among married men and women.
Those having unmarried intercourse were also lop-sided in age, with men distinctly older. Attitudes were more ambiguous: 46% of men and 40% of women were positive, 14% of men and 18% of women were negative, and the attitudes of nearly half of both genders were not apparent. When the instigator in·sti·gate
tr.v. in·sti·gat·ed, in·sti·gat·ing, in·sti·gates
1. To urge on; goad.
2. To stir up; foment.
[Latin could be identified (half the time), initiation was evenly split between males and females. Having sex with someone who was married to someone else was done by about 12% of the women and 15% of the men.
A substantial portion of the sex which viewers hear about comes from nonparticipants who talk about what other characters are doing, have done, or may do. Their attitudes were substantially more negative than attitudes of participants. Compared with 50% of participants who were positive and 20% who were negative, only 12% of nonparticipants were positive about the acts they discussed, and 59% were negative.
Are There New Topics in the 1990s?
Several sex-related issues not dealt with earlier emerged--date rape and safe sex are two of special interest here. We also chose to examine pregnancy, which, unaccountably un·ac·count·a·ble
1. Impossible to account for; inexplicable: unaccountable absences.
2. , had not before been considered a sex-related activity in content analyses of TV sex.
Date rape date rape n. forcible sexual intercourse by a male acquaintance of a woman, during a voluntary social engagement in which the woman did not intend to submit to the sexual advances and resisted the acts by verbal refusals, denials or pleas to stop, and/or physical . More than a decade ago, a rotten guy named Luke raped an American soap princess named Laura on what was then America's favorite soap opera, General Hospital. They barely knew each other at the time. Luke became a fan favorite and, over time, Laura's recall of the rape transformed itself from the violent act it was to a romantic encounter; the pair eventually wed. That storyline Noun 1. storyline - the plot of a book or play or film
plot - the story that is told in a novel or play or movie etc.; "the characters were well drawn but the plot was banal" contributed to the myth that women want to be raped. Recently, on that soap, the offspring, Lucky, discovered the origin of his conception.
Rape was a nonevent non·e·vent
An anticipated or highly publicized event that does not occur or proves anticlimactic or boring.
Noun in our 1985 soaps sample but a major player with a different political face in the 1994 sample. The buzz term buzz term
A buzzword. became date rape, as contrasted with stranger rape stranger rape
A rape in which the victim does not know the rapist. . Public discussion has focused primarily on its occurrence among young people, including adolescents. Two soaps in the 1994 sample had ongoing storylines which dealt with date rape, and both dealt with the date rape of teenagers. On one, where the date rape involved multiple assailants, viewers witnessed remorse Remorse
See also Regret.
Ayenbite of Inwit (Remorse of Conscience)
Middle English version of medieval moral treatise, c. 1340. [Br. Lit. and guilt from two of the males but not from a third. The pain of the victim was relived frequently in these episodes. Another storyline portrayed a teenage boy holding his potential victim hostage and tormenting tor·ment
1. Great physical pain or mental anguish.
2. A source of harassment, annoyance, or pain.
3. The torture inflicted on prisoners under interrogation.
tr.v. her, having raped her sister some time earlier. The episodes in this sample story ended with the accused rapist rap·ist
One who commits rape.
Noun 1. rapist - someone who forces another to have sexual intercourse
aggressor, assailant, assaulter, attacker - someone who attacks stating that he would testify he never had sex with her, and verbally menacing both sisters.
Rape on the soaps is unlikely to deal with stranger rape. That activity does not provide an opportunity to examine the individual characters and their relationships--the mainstay of the soaps. These two storylines were done with considerable sensitivity to the victim's pain, and with eventual punishment for the assailants. In the 1996 study, there were no date rape storylines; it was no longer in the headlines.
Safe sex. We looked for specific references to safe sex and/or contraception. Five references occurred in three of the 50 episodes. There was one lengthy, multi-scene discussion between a mother and her teenager about the merits and demerits of having sex now with one's boyfriend, and one specific mention of AIDS was found in these 50 episodes, contracted from drug use, not sexual activity.
Thus, sex on the soaps occurred in the absence of specific references to safe sex or to contraception. AIDS was ignored, and no other sexually transmitted diseases Sexually transmitted diseases
Infections that are acquired and transmitted by sexual contact. Although virtually any infection may be transmitted during intimate contact, the term sexually transmitted disease is restricted to conditions that are largely were mentioned. Discussions about sex among teenagers seldom involved parents.
Being, wanting to be, and getting pregnant. In the 1994 study, 20 of the 50 episodes studied had scenes about pregnancy. There were 15 different pregnancies in this time period, with 3 to 5 per soap, and 61 incidents in which pregnancy was discussed or referenced. Pregnancy was and is a dominant theme and discussion topic across all the soaps. Pregnancy references and acts were coded within sexual intercourse sexual intercourse
or coitus or copulation
Act in which the male reproductive organ enters the female reproductive tract (see reproductive system). in this study. Of 120 coded acts or references to unmarried sexual intercourse, 19% were discussions of pregnancy ("I am pregnant," "I want to have a baby," "Getting pregnant is our number one priority," "When I was pregnant...."). The pregnancy storylines are often imaginative (see Appendix A).
Two pregnancy storylines illustrative il·lus·tra·tive
Acting or serving as an illustration.
Adj. 1. of the unusual pregnancies often found on the soaps are from Sunset Beach. Annie stole Olivia's baby at birth, and gave it to Olivia's daughter, who had miscarried during the same car accident which induced Olivia's labor. The daughter does not know that the child is her brother; her husband does not know that the child is not his son. But it may be his son because he slept with his mother-in-law in an earlier story! More recently Vanessa, an unwed Black woman, was impregnated im·preg·nate
tr.v. im·preg·nat·ed, im·preg·nat·ing, im·preg·nates
1. To make pregnant; inseminate.
2. To fertilize (an ovum, for example).
3. in vitro in vitro /in vi·tro/ (in ve´tro) [L.] within a glass; observable in a test tube; in an artificial environment.
In an artificial environment outside a living organism. . She was unconscious at the time, having been doped dope
a. A narcotic, especially an addictive narcotic.
b. Narcotics considered as a group.
c. An illicit drug, especially marijuana.
2. by a jealous female, who then did the injection. It was not the sperm sperm or spermatozoon (spûr'mətəzō`ən, –zō`ŏn), in biology, the male gamete (sex cell), corresponding to the female ovum in organisms that reproduce sexually. of her fiancee, Michael, but that of a second male. Michael (now sterile) believes she is pregnant from him, but she knows he could not be the father. She believes she must have slept with the other guy. And on it goes.
One third of the pregnancy portrayals were negative toward the pregnancy, only one sixth were happy about it, and the remainder were mixed. Six pregnancies had been planned, seven clearly were unplanned. Generally, paternity The state or condition of a father; the relationship of a father.
English and U.S. Common Law have recognized the importance of establishing the paternity of children. was known. Half the parents were married to each other; one fourth were not, and the rest were indeterminate That which is uncertain or not particularly designated.
INDETERMINATE. That which is uncertain or not particularly designated; as, if I sell you one hundred bushels of wheat, without stating what wheat. 1 Bouv. Inst. n. 950. . Given the centrality of pregnancy to most soap operas, it is curious that half the pregnancies were a surprise. On the other hand, this may account for the fact that only one in six pregnancies were clearly happy ones.
Just say no. At face value, the results affirm the dominant emphasis on unmarried intercourse in the soaps, averaging 2.4 acts/references each hour. First, let us set aside the 20% of those acts which came from pregnancy incidents. The remainder dealt with lustier sex encounters but were far from uniform in the attitudes expressed toward those interactions. Of the unmarried intercourse incidents, 35% were discussed positively, 29% were mixed, and 36% were discussed in a distinctly negative way. This is a relatively flat distribution. Sex is not uniformly responded to as a good or fun thing to do; as many say no as say OK, and unmarried intercourse receives significantly more disapproval than married intercourse. Appendix B illustrates ways of saying no found in this soap sample.
In her 1996 study, Heintz-Knowles acknowledged that "The overall amount of specific sexual behaviors sexual behavior A person's sexual practices–ie, whether he/she engages in heterosexual or homosexual activity. See Sex life, Sexual life. remained relatively consistent with previous studies, including the 1994 ... study" (p. 2). In addition, she cited as major findings that (a) visual sexual behaviors increased markedly, although they most often were visual depictions of kissing and caressing; (b) portrayals of the consequences of sexual activity increased only marginally; (c) most sexual liaisons were between partners in established relationships with each other, and not one-night stands one-night stand
a. A performance by a traveling musical or dramatic performer or group in one place on one night only.
b. The place at which such a performance is given.
2. ; and (d) almost 90% of the sexual activity had a positive impact on the partners' relationships in both the short and long term--an important addition in examining the potential implications of these shows. Her one caveat was that the valence Valence, city, France
Valence (väläNs`), city (1990 pop. 65,026), capital of Drôme dept., SE France, in Dauphiné, on the Rhône River. of outcomes was identifiable in only half the scenes. As in the Greenberg and Busselle (1996) 1994 study, HeintzKnowles' 1996 study also found no homosexual activity, and very little prostitution. In contrast, the 1996 study had little in the way of rape storylines, and heavy-duty kissing replaced sexual intercourse as the single most frequent behavior.
Overall, the content of sex on the soaps in the 1990s is a cornucopia cornucopia (kôr'nykō`pēə), in Greek mythology, magnificent horn that filled itself with whatever meat or drink its owner requested. of traditional sex (heterosexual interplay) with little (if any) planning and relatively few consequences other than pregnancy, as well as a good deal of no-sex-thank-you. These are mixed messages, given that the outcomes of sexual activity are generally positive within a few episodes of their occurrence. Those that are not positive outcomes are indeterminate, but definitely not negative.
Referring to earlier evidence that more soap viewers are from younger and older age groups, and acknowledging that the shows' creators have that same information about their audience, soaps provide separate but parallel story incentives for their skewed skewed
curve of a usually unimodal distribution with one tail drawn out more than the other and the median will lie above or below the mean.
skewed Epidemiology adjective Referring to an asymmetrical distribution of a population or of data age range of viewers. They offer traditional romantic problems for older viewers who have come to expect their favorite and aging characters to cavort ca·vort
intr.v. ca·vort·ed, ca·vort·ing, ca·vorts
1. To bound or prance about in a sprightly manner; caper.
2. and test their fidelity. That approach dominated soaps in the 1970s. Today, in their efforts to develop a younger audience, the soaps extend sexual activity to much younger characters and develop stories that deal more with the young viewer's interests in such issues as date rape, pregnancy, and the onset of sexual activity. They do not deal well with STDs or birth control.
What Comes from Watching Soaps?
Studies of the effects of watching soaps are sparse sparse - A sparse matrix (or vector, or array) is one in which most of the elements are zero. If storage space is more important than access speed, it may be preferable to store a sparse matrix as a list of (index, value) pairs or use some kind of hash scheme or associative memory. . All available studies are from field surveys, and none are experimentally derived. They serve more as a catalyst for creating a research agenda than as definitive answers. Given that soap operas on television have become more sexual, particularly in this decade, and given space/time limitations, we shall identify work done primarily in this decade.
Loneliness and soap opera viewing has been examined. Perse and Rubin (1990) studied the chronically lonely among 328 soap viewers and found that they perceived soaps as more realistic. Their motives in watching soaps were less for excitement or for social interaction, and more to kill time. Canary and Spitzberg (1993) added the situationally lonely to those chronically lonely, and posited differences between the two. They asked about expectations sought and obtained from soaps, and reported that the chronically lonely obtain fewer escape gratifications from their media experiences relative to their expectations than the nonlonely. There were no differences in parasocial interaction, which is the utilization of media as a vicarious vicarious /vi·car·i·ous/ (vi-kar´e-us)
1. acting in the place of another or of something else.
2. occurring at an abnormal site.
1. surrogate surrogate n. 1) a person acting on behalf of another or a substitute, including a woman who gives birth to a baby of a mother who is unable to carry the child. 2) a judge in some states (notably New York) responsible only for probates, estates, and adoptions. to genuine interaction.
More systematic have been efforts to examine the effects of soap operas within a cultivation paradigm, that heavy soap viewers will make estimates about the frequency of specific groups and selected behaviors that are more similar to the frequency of soap portrayals of these phenomena than their real life frequencies. Earlier, we cited Carveth and Alexander (1985) for showing that Rubin's ritualistic gratification dimension (Rubin, 1985) demonstrated a more pronounced cultivation effect than the instrumental gratification. In that same study, they also showed a soap cultivation effect on the estimates of the number of illegitimate ILLEGITIMATE. That which is contrary to law; it is usually applied to children born out of lawful wedlock. A bastard is sometimes called an illegitimate child. children and the number of divorced men Noun 1. divorced man - a man who is divorced from (or separated from) his wife
adult male, man - an adult person who is male (as opposed to a woman); "there were two women and six men on the bus" and women. Buerkel-Rothfuss and Mayes (1981) identified a cultivation effect for an overestimate o·ver·es·ti·mate
tr.v. o·ver·es·ti·mat·ed, o·ver·es·ti·mat·ing, o·ver·es·ti·mates
1. To estimate too highly.
2. To esteem too greatly. in the number of women who have had abortions and in the number of both men and women who have had affairs, as well, again, as the number of illegitimate children. Alexander (1985) also found adolescent soap opera viewers overestimated the difficulty of maintaining a relationship.
Olsen (1994) provides more recent support for the cultivation of sexual issues through soap opera viewing, with data from college student viewers. Content analyses cited earlier indicate little if any portrayal of safe sex and contraception, but many pregnancy stories and those themes provided the basis for her cultivation hypotheses. In turn, she found that soap viewers reported (a) less need for contraception use than nonviewers; (b) higher rates of pregnancy; (c) higher rates of adultery adultery
Sexual relations between a married person and someone other than his or her spouse. Prohibitions against adultery are found in virtually every society; Jewish, Christian, and Islamic traditions all condemn it, and in some Islamic countries it is still punishable by ; and (d) contrary to what was hypothesized, higher estimates of the presence of STDs. In addition, they did not differ from nonviewers in their estimates of the risks associated with sexual behavior, nor in the acceptability of premarital intercourse. The findings offer mixed support from this theoretical perspective.
Finally, Woods (1998) added the variable of involvement or the perceived importance of watching their soaps to his study of adolescent females. Amount of soap viewing, the social usefulness obtained from watching soaps, and the likelihood with which different relational problems might occur were each significantly and positively correlated with involvement. Moreover, the involvement correlations were stronger with these measures than with sheer viewing.
A Brief Research Agenda
Content analyses of sex on television and sex in the soaps abound. They are important indicators of trends and emphases, but are no substitute for effects studies. However, all the content studies originate with definitions of sexual content and themes from the perspective of the individual researcher. How might definitions and perceptions of such content differ if they originated with the regular viewer of soaps? For example, even with a reported increase in visual displays of intimacy in the most recent content analysis (Heintz-Knowles, 1996), most indicators of sexual activity, other than kissing, are references or comments. Do viewers judge that verbal output as sex? Is it as meaningful to them? Many coded activities are references to previous sexual encounters, rather than current liaisons. What of sexual behavior that occurred earlier in time, but is talked about now (i.e., a past affair)? Does that weigh as heavily with the viewer as contemporary events? Should we separate content elements (e.g., the past from the present, the visual from the verbal) in subsequent attempts to project possible effects? In doing so, we would wish to take into account the interpretation or perception of these acts by viewers. How do they interpret such behaviors, and to what extent does it correspond to the definitions provided by researchers to make coding reliable? The issue being raised is that of the validity of the coding, such as whether these content categories are meaningful to those who choose most often to watch and listen to them. One approach would be to convene CONVENE, civil law. This is a technical term, signifying to bring an action. focus groups of soap fans, have them discuss the ongoing sex in their favorite soaps, and proceed from such discussions to have them assist in developing and defining sexual content elements. This could inform us as to whether existing coding schemes are comprehensive, relevant, and/or meaningful.
A second issue is the weight of the elements of sexual content. In such analyses, all behaviors, acts, and references tend to count the same. Yet, the naive observer is likely to be impressed differently by a visual scene of implied sexual intercourse than by a conversation about spending the weekend together, and less naive observers, such as adolescents who regularly watch soaps, may emerge with different beliefs about the appropriateness of such behavior. How, then, can we begin to disentangle what may be considered more or less significant sexual activities on the soaps? Again, we might turn to the regular viewer and seek their assessment of the relative strength and importance of events we can sample and tape from their favorite soaps. Perhaps it is possible to reexamine re·ex·am·ine also re-ex·am·ine
tr.v. re·ex·am·ined, re·ex·am·in·ing, re·ex·am·ines
1. To examine again or anew; review.
2. Law To question (a witness) again after cross-examination. content in terms of the intensity of different elements, taking into account more than a mere categorization of the behavior as present or absent. Some scenes and some incidents are likely to have more influence than others. Being able to identify and then analyze those incidents may permit a stronger link between viewing and outcome than general measures of overall viewing and the general outcomes that are based on how often something occurs, rather than how intense or critical the incident is.
Also, there are obvious limits to effects studies which begin with convenient samples of college students. When the available evidence from the rating organizations specifies that the typical viewers of television soaps have a set of characteristics (e.g., are less educated, have less income, are younger and older, are members of an ethnic minority) which make them quite different from university students, then looking for the effects of viewing on the latter is problematic and unwise. These differentiating attributes do not describe the largest group of viewers, because each attribute (save age) exists in a population subgroup sub·group
1. A distinct group within a group; a subdivision of a group.
2. A subordinate group.
3. Mathematics A group that is a subset of a group.
tr.v. that is much smaller than the majority. Nevertheless, they all address the need to sample representative viewers or, for specialized studies, sampling from fans.
Gratification studies also abound, and they have more findings in common than are idiosyncratic id·i·o·syn·cra·sy
n. pl. id·i·o·syn·cra·sies
1. A structural or behavioral characteristic peculiar to an individual or group.
2. A physiological or temperamental peculiarity.
3. . However, the major gratifications sought from soaps do not appear to vary greatly from those sought from other entertainment media. Are there none that are unique to soaps? Perhaps the question has not been phrased that way. Perhaps the identified gratification dimensions differ in terms of their magnitude (average scores) between soaps and other genre or media, but that also has not been established. What may be needed is a tighter conceptual fit between gratification seeking, gratifications obtained, and the influence of those gratifications on viewer responses to program content.
Just what do we expect soaps to do to and for their viewers? The following themes for additional study are derived from this review. They are keyed to the sexual interest and curiosity of adolescents:
1. Male-female relationships are rocky and need constant attention.
2. Sex is very important in holding onto a relationship.
3. Sex just happens; you can't really plan for it.
4. You can't count on someone to be faithful if they get tempted.
5. Sex has more good things that come with it than bad things.
6. Sex is more fun before you get married.
7. Marriages don't last anyhow an·y·how
1. In whatever way or manner; however: I'll cook it anyhow you like. They came anyhow they couldby boat, train, or plane. .
8. If you're in love, having sex is OK.
9. Why wait to have sex?
10. People who use sex to get what they want usually get what they want.
A critical research approach is whether the relative acceptance or rejection of these themes is tied more strongly to watching soap operas than to other activities (e.g., watching specific primetime television shows, reading certain magazines, talking with friends), or whether an orientation to content which bears these themes is found across media experiences (e.g., the afternoon soap viewer may as likely be a fan of evening television shows or movies which carry similar messages). An alternative, then, to beginning with the medium is to begin with the themes, and to determine the similarity of their origins for individuals.
The contribution of individual interpretations of media content between the genders and among different cultural/ethnic groups remains another substantial issue. It is unlikely that women and men have similar responses to the same content, or even similar motivations in experiencing that content. Those differences have yet to be made manifest in the research literature, and this summary suggests both the importance and the means of initiating such efforts. Efforts to date, for example, have not explored how sex is being used in these stories--is it for pleasure, for manipulation, for power? Surely, these elements need to be analyzed as we probe to understand responses to this genre of television, a daily favorite for millions of viewers.
Alexander, A. (1985). Adolescents' soap opera viewing and relational perceptions. Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, 29, 295-308.
Babrow, A. S. (1987). Student motives for watching soap operas. Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, 31, 309-321.
Buerkel-Rothfuss, N. L., & Mayes, S. (1981). Soap opera viewing: The cultivation effect. Journal of Communication, 30, 108-115.
Canary, D. J., & Spitzberg, B. H. (1993). Loneliness and media gratifications. Communication Research, 20, 800-821.
Carveth, R., & Alexander, A. (1985). Soap opera viewing motivations and the cultivation process. Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, 29, 259-273.
Compesi, R. J. (1980). Gratifications of daytime TV serial viewers. Journalism Quarterly, 57, 155-158.
Greenberg, B. S., & Busselle, R. (1996). Soap operas and sexual activity: A decade later. Journal of Communication, 46, 153-160.
Greenberg, B. S., & D'Alessio, D. (1985). The quantity and quality of sex in the soaps. Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, 29, 309-321.
Greenberg, B. S., Neuendorf, K., Buerkel-Rothfuss, N., & Henderson, L. (1982). The soaps: What's on What's On (Traditional Chinese: 熒幕八爪娛) is a weekly half-hour TV series that airs on Fairchild Television. Format
Originally started in 1996, the show is currently the longest-running program in Fairchild Television history. and who cares? Journal of Broadcasting, 26, 519-535.
Greenberg, B. S., & Rampoldi-Hnilo, L. (1994, October). Who watches daytime soap operas? Unpublished report, The Kaiser Family Foundation The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), or just Kaiser Family Foundation, is a U.S.-based non-profit, private operating foundation headquartered in Menlo Park, California. .
Heintz-Knowles, K. E. (1996, September). Sexual activity on daytime soap operas: A content analysis of five weeks of television programming. Paper presented at the Soap Summit II, New York City New York City: see New York, city.
New York City
City (pop., 2000: 8,008,278), southeastern New York, at the mouth of the Hudson River. The largest city in the U.S. .
Olson, B. (1994). Soaps, sex and cultivation. Mass Communication Review, 21, 106-113.
Perse, E. M., & Rubin, A. M., (1988). Audience activity and satisfaction with favorite television soap operas. Journalism Quarterly, 65, 368-375.
Perse, E. M., & Rubin, A. M. (1990). Chronic loneliness and television use. Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, 34, 37-53.
Ratings for the week of April 19-23, 1999 (1999). TV Guide. [on-line]. Available: http://www.tvguide.com/soaps/ratings/.
Rubin, A. M. (1985). Uses of daytime television Daytime television is the general term for television shows produced that are intended to air during the daytime hours.
While some shows are identified as "daytime TV shows", "daytime television" is not a genre per se. soap operas by college students. Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, 29, 241-258.
Woods, M. G. (1998, July). Teen viewing of soaps: A uses & gratifications/cultivation study. Paper presented at the International Communication Association 48th Annual Conference, Jerusalem, Israel.
Manuscript accepted April 16, 1999
1. A single woman is newly pregnant, but unsure which of two men is the father.
2. A man impregnated a woman who excluded him from deciding what to do about it.
3. A woman wants to become pregnant.
4. The wife of a kidney donor is pregnant with their first child.
5. A couple wants to have a baby; donating a kidney to her brother could cause problems.
6. One couple is waiting to find out if the woman is pregnant.
7. Yet another woman tells her brother she is pregnant.
8. One couple is expecting.
9. A pregnant woman is concerned that her baby will be blind.
10. Husband wants wife to become pregnant; she wants to wait; she gets pregnant.
11. Woman's ex fathered a child by another woman while still married to former woman.
12. A couple reminisce rem·i·nisce
intr.v. rem·i·nisced, rem·i·nisc·ing, rem·i·nisc·es
To recollect and tell of past experiences or events.
[Back-formation from reminiscence. about having a child many years ago.
13. Another couple discuss having had a baby.
14. A woman is carrying the fetus of another woman, having undergone in vitro.
15. Son is told that unknown U. S. soldier father abandoned Vietnamese mother without knowing she was pregnant.
SAYING NO TO SEX
1. "You are certifiable cer·ti·fi·a·ble
1. That can or must be certified. Used of infectious, industrial, and other diseases that are required by law to be reported to health authorities.
2. if you even think I would think about seducing se·duce
tr.v. se·duced, se·duc·ing, se·duc·es
1. To lead away from duty, accepted principles, or proper conduct. See Synonyms at lure.
2. To induce to engage in sex.
a. (him) on a bet."
2. "Charlie, stop it. I have to get this done or I will never get to bed at a decent hour."
3. "I may be one of the last remaining old-fashioned girls on this world, but my mother told me ... keep both feet ... on the ground."
4. "You're not disappointed that we didn't ... um?"
5. "The way I look at it, love is a lot like ketchup. The longer it takes to get to the plate, the better it tastes."
6. "I love being with you, and I would love to make love to you, but I'm not as ready as I thought I was. Are you mad?"
7. "(He) tells you that I slept with him, which is a total lie. You were dying to believe it ... it would give you permission to go after my body. You think ... hey, she's easy, I.... can just grab a piece of the action too.... you were ready to just jump me."
8. "You found out that (she) wasn't going to sleep with you and yet you're still interested.... relationships are a lot more than just sex."
9. "She was willing and you didn't go for it?" "We were in the pickup ... things started getting heavy.... next thing I knew she whipped out a condom 1. condom - The protective plastic bag that accompanies 3.5-inch microfloppy diskettes. Rarely, also used of (paper) disk envelopes. Unlike the write protect tab, the condom (when left on) not only impedes the practice of SEX but has also been shown to have a high failure ... I could not go through with it ... It didn't feel right. I wasn't ready and I don't think she was either."
10. "You did the right thing turning this boy off. He wants sex now, you don't."
Financial support for the 1994 study of the content of soap operas came from the Kaiser Family Foundation, Menlo Park Menlo Park.
1 Residential city (1990 pop. 28,040), San Mateo co., W Calif.; inc. 1874. Electronic equipment and aerospace products are manufactured in the city. Menlo College and a Stanford Univ. research institute are there.
2 Uninc. , CA.
Address correspondence to Bradley S. Greenberg, 477 Communication Arts & Sciences Bldg., Department of Telecommunication, Michigan State University Michigan State University, at East Lansing; land-grant and state supported; coeducational; chartered 1855. It opened in 1857 as Michigan Agricultural College, the first state agricultural college. , East Lansing East Lansing, city (1990 pop. 50,677), Ingham co., S central Mich., a suburb of Lansing, on the Red Cedar River; inc. 1907. The city was first known as College Park, but was renamed when it was incorporated. , MI 48824; e-mail: email@example.com.