No End to Her: Soap Opera and the Female Subject

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University of California Press, 1992 - Performing Arts - 237 pages
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In this incisive defense of a much-maligned genre, Nochimson demonstrates how soap opera validates an essentially feminine perspective, and responds to complex issues of women's desire and power.

Even though soap opera commands a vast and loyal audience, it has been trivialized by the mainstream media and even libeled as a form of pornography designed to keep women in their place. In this incisive defense of a much-maligned genre, Martha Nochimson demonstrates how soap opera validates an essentially feminine perspective and responds to complex issues of women's desires and power by creating strong, active female characters. Drawing on psychoanalytic theory and feminist film criticism, Nochimson explores the ways in which soap opera has inverted the typical male-centered narrative characterized by a domineering, Oedipal father-son relationship that serves to control female energy. Instead, women in soap operas resist their stabilizing role in male hierarchies. In breaking with traditional narrative, soaps create a distinctly feminine, open-ended format capable of tolerating ambiguity and lack of resolution. Soap operas emerge as vessels of a subterranean female power and defy women's "assigned" place in male-designed social structures.

It is time, Nochimson argues, to take a fresh look at one of America's few original art forms. Anyone interested in television, American culture, and gender roles will find No End to Her a startling and compelling read.
 

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No end to her: soap opera and the female subject

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Written by an academic who has also written for several soap operas, this is a psychoanalytic and feministic look at female characters in the often-maligned soap opera genre. Nochimson, whose writing ... Read full review

Contents

Soap Opera Femininity and Desire
13
Narrative Syntax and Desire
31
The Radio Heroine
46
The Importance of Being Victoria Lord
64
The Fantasy Female Subject after 1978
75
Energizing the Narrative of the Couple
85
resisting the controlling male gaze
94
Julias New Frontier
105
erotic mutuality I
119
Multiplots
143
Actor Chemistry and Soap Opera Melodrama
153
Conclusion
159
Race
168
Homosexuality
174
Conclusion
191
Copyright

Conclusion
118

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About the author (1992)

Martha Nochimson teaches at New York University and at Mercy College. Not content with a purely academic approach to her subject, she spent several years as a writer for Ryan's Hope, Search for Tomorrow, Guiding Light, Loving, and Santa Barbara.

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