Telenovelas, gender, and genre

Authored by: Esther Hamburger

The Routledge Companion to Media and Gender

Print publication date:  December  2013
Online publication date:  December  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415527699
eBook ISBN: 9780203066911
Adobe ISBN: 9781135076955


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Brazilian telenovelas are prime-time soaps broadcast Monday through Saturday on commercial television. Unlike daytime soap operas, telenovelas have clear narrative beginnings and endings, with each story typically lasting from six to eight months. Although the recent popularization of DVDs, cable television, and the internet has diversified television, telenovelas remain the most popular and profitable national television genre. From 1976 onward, Brazilian television companies have exported telenovelas; the genre has become one of the most successful in the world. Although in Brazil male and female audiences watch telenovelas, the genre remains defined in gendered terms as feminine by producers, market researchers, and audiences. While their narratives contribute to shifting notions around gender roles, issues such as abortion remain taboo.

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