New Login   

How Stereotypes are Reinforced

Saima Saeed

Edited by K. Durga Bhavani and C. Vijayasree
Foundation Books, Cambridge University Press India, New Delhi, 2010, pp. 225, Rs. 495.00


A collection of essays on a wide range of issues on women and media the book makes for an insightful reading and presents an interesting exposition of how media texts in both their fictional and non-fictional accounts are increasingly influenced by the often simultaneous but disconnected even opposed sets of forces including feminist influences and critiques globalization activism in cyberspace and issues pertaining to gender policy and gender justice. The editors both professors in the Department of English Osmania University Hyderabad have managed to bring together a diverse spectrum of essays that address the issue of women in media texts as objects and subjects producers and as audiences cutting across media technologies ranging from television to films including the multi-million dollar advertisement industry and going on to the new media and the internet. Ammu Josephs article though largely a discussion using the theoretical framework of a German media economist Manfred Kops provides a contemporary underpinning to some of these debates. A look at how media globalization transnationalization and concentration resulting from a lop-sided reliance on the market logic that diminishes diversity and plurality of media point to the need for a gender analysis of media globalization. The portrayal of women in television soaps is a recurring subject in several of the contributions including those by R. Amritavalli and Waheeda Sultana. The issue is approached from the twin perspectives of the stereotypical characterizations of women (with a formula diet of envy jealousy suspense romance seduction and revenge) in these serials on the one hand and their impact on women viewers across the country on the other. Many of these characters have even acquired the stature of role-models in the likes of Tulsis Parvatis and the Prernas. It is pointed out how stereotyping is common not just in the essence of their roles but in their overall dress and demeanour. Sultanas essay traces a historical growth of the Indian soap opera beginning with the first social soap opera Hum Log that became a phenomenal success story inspiring a whole generation of tele-serials. The essay argues that there has been a decisive shift in the representation of women in the TV serials of the 1980s and 1990s with their portrayals of more emancipated women characters like in Udaan and Rajni glaringly different from the contemporary Saas Bahu sagas. What comes across strongly in the articles on Indian televisual soap operas is the extreme ...

Table of Contents >>
Please or to Read Entire Article

Free Access Online 12 Back Issues
with 1 year's subscription
Archive (1976-2011)
under construction.