Feminist film and television studies shared a crucial period of development in the late 1970s and early 1980s, taking shape into influential fields and helping to establish central questions for media scholarship that would carry through to the twenty-first century. Laura Mulvey's mid-1970s theorization of male spectatorship revolutionized the field, but left many feminist scholars wondering about female spectatorship, specifically the potential for feminized forms of “visual pleasure,” whether in cinema or other media.1 The result was a turn by feminist thinkers toward two objects: melodrama and soap opera. The work generated amid the Western world's second wave of feminism focused on women's engagement with screen cultures, but in so...
Melodrama and Soap Opera
Elana Levine is a professor in the Department of Journalism, Advertising, and Media Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She is the author of Wallowing in Sex: The New Sexual Culture of 1970s American Television (Duke University Press, 2007), coauthor of Legitimating Television: Media Convergence and Cultural Status (Routledge, 2012), editor of Cupcakes, Pinterest, and Ladyporn: Feminized Popular Culture in the Early Twenty-First Century (University of Illinois Press, 2015), and coeditor of Undead TV: Essays on Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Duke University Press, 2007). Her next book, Her Stories: Daytime Soap Opera and US Television History, is under contract with Duke University Press.
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Elana Levine; Melodrama and Soap Opera. Feminist Media Histories 1 April 2018; 4 (2): 117–122. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fmh.2018.4.2.117
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