Soap Opera Heroines and Women Consumers: Images of Vulnerability

Daytime soap operas exemplify an industrial art constructed according to genre “conventions that circulate between industry, text, and subject” or audience (Neale 1980, 20). The purpose of our study is to investigate the influence of textual images of vulnerable women characters on the female consumers who constitute the majority of viewers. The audience has remained consistent over the past generation: mostly low-income and less educated women, teens, and elderly (Gerbner, Gross, Morgan, and Signorielli 1994). Among the most long-standing motivations are emotional release, personal gratification, companionship, and escape. However benign the motivations may appear, we suggest that they reveal a vulnerability loop in which industry profits flow from a genre that specializes in conveying images of damaged women living luxurious lives to accepting viewers who develop parasocial attachments to unrealistic and inappropriate role models.


Cristel Antonia Russell, Dale W. Russell, and Barbara Stern (2006) ,"Soap Opera Heroines and Women Consumers: Images of Vulnerability", in LA - Latin American Advances in Consumer Research Volume 1, eds. Silvia Gonzalez and David Luna, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 97-98.


Cristel Antonia Russell, HEC Paris School of Management, France
Dale W. Russell, INSEAD, France
Barbara Stern, Rutgers Business School, USA


LA - Latin American Advances in Consumer Research Volume 1 | 2006

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