Study Questions 8: Tu Feb 11: Romance Novels, Soap Operas and Audience Analysis
1. Based on the the four readings for today, what do you feel are the most compelling arguments that soap operas and romances are empowering to women?
2. What do you find are the most compelling arguments that soap operas and romances perpetuate female stereotypes and subordination?
3. How does Radway distinguish between romance novels as "texts" and romance novel reading as an activity? How does the use to which female audiences put their romance reading complicate our interpretation of the social meaning of the novels?
4. What does Radway's analysis suggest about relationships between textual analysis and audience analysis?
5. How are the Korean women soap opera fans analyzed by Lee and Cho like and how are they unlike the romance readers analyzed by Radway?
6. What does the analysis of the Korean women suggest about the cultural imperialism thesis? What do the Korean women like and not like about of US soap operas, and how do they use them to their advantage?
7. How does technology in the form of the VCR shape the audience habits of both the Korean and American soap opera viewers? What is similar and what different about how these two groups watch soaps? How did this technical change impact the production of US soaps?
8. What are Hayward's strongest examples of "active audiences"? What forms does the active audience take? What factors does she suggest limit active audiences?
9. Hayward notes that in television, the "text is no longer the commodity: it is the reader of the text who generates profit when packaged in units of thousand and sold, or 'delivered,' to advertisers." How does this fact shape production of TV? How might being a "commodity" shape the experience of being an audience?
10. How is the shifting nature of who produces soaps changing the texts? How do economic constraints shape soaps and make them particularly open to audience input?
11. How do camera techniques relate to the experience of soap opera viewers? How does the setting relate to female viewership?
12. What examples does Rogers give of typically denigrating attitudes towards women in soaps? Where and why does her evidence differ from Hayward's? How is Rogers' account of a "rape storyline" on a soap like and unlike the rape storyline described by Hayward? Whose analysis do you find more convincing and why?