Family Dynamics and Women Power - Are Daily Soaps a Boon or Bane on Family Dynamics

Family Dynamics and Women Power - Are Daily Soaps a Boon or Bane on Family Dynamics

The soap themes underwent a paradigm shift from the year 2008 onwards with social problems like child marriage, female foeticide, child labor, bonded labor and farmers’ suicides providing the thematic context to this new breed of soaps. There are both positive and negative impacts of serials, reality shows and comedy shows that get telecast. Although, the problem is that the negative dominates and is contributing to negative behavior in society.
Family Dynamics and Women Power - Are Daily Soaps a Boon or Bane on Family Dynamics

by: Payal Talesra

Television is an integral part of our everyday life and has become a kind of necessity. With the rapid advent of technology, it has become an integral part of every household. When a programme is to be aired, people, regardless of their age, get glued to their TV sets, no matter what may occur around them. They become unaware of their surroundings and are completely lost in the world of television.

With the introduction of cable lines and dish TV, the scope of TV had widenede very much, and therefore through TV the family members can see different types of channels. It is also observed that these days most of the people are devoting their time in TV and are learning the trend from TV and copying and using these trends in their own lifestyle. There is at least one person from any family who diligently watches serials. There are both positive and negative impacts of serials, reality shows and comedy shows that get telecast. Although, the problem is that the negative dominates and is contributing to negative behavior in society.

This attitude makes them unsocial and confined to their homes (this does not at all mean to promote socializing or moving out of homes in current COVID situation; this is only when things were / will be normal back again) unmindful of what goes on in their surroundings. People even tend to miss important classes or appointments because they cannot afford to miss a serial.

Considerable harm is caused to children who become “couch potatoes” as they lean on the sofa and continue gaping at the screen, when they should actually imbibe the habit of reading books instead. Some famous programmes for children portray superheroes that they look up to and admire. They fantasise that if the strong, invincible heroes are around, the world is a safe place to live in and that they are free from all kinds of harm. They must realise that such characters don’t exist in the real world and can’t save the world from its enemies. Unlike in earlier times, rarely do children watch sports like football, cricket or tennis matches.

Daily soaps create a great impact on youth, middle-aged, old people. People are internalizing the characteristics of television soaps.

Coming to the case of Indian women, most of them watch daily soaps where misery is glorified. Most of the women are fascinated by the story, sympathy and drama played on TV. Soap operas are mostly women-centric, which keeps women audience attached to their TV sets. These days soap operas being telecast contain more abuse, targeting the protagonist, and lots of humiliation to lead actors. Large-scale serials have saas-bahu concepts where bahu plays the role of the protagonist. The majority of the shows are run by belittling the lead actress in various ways and making her faces numerous hurdles. These kinds of stories inject negativity in the minds of people who watch serials continuously without their knowledge and they start treating people in their surroundings with the same thoughts that they imbibe from such serials.

Mostly the character of the protagonist is designed as a woman who places family first before her self-respect, personal well-being and dedicates their lives to the family. The character maintains the utmost dignity, suffers humiliation obediently with a smile on her face, and mostly plays the role of daughter, wife, and daughter-in-law. These kinds of shows receive more TRP and are a common strategy for producers to make profits. These inculcate people with illogical and highly sentimental emotions. Many people are accustomed to suffering than reverting back because that is what is shown in their favorite serials. They more act like a world away from a real world.

Often most of the serials seem to be destroying our society and culture. They showcase extramarital affairs, premarital romantic relationships, polygamy, and many such immoral behavior in the process of defining the antagonist's character. A few people can grasp the wrong notion of character and treat it just like fiction. In contrast, there are some people who get a liking towards villains and are easily influenced by their acts. The nasty feats performed by negative characters play an important role in shaping human minds and thoughts. The influence of the villains is the initial step of developing unpleasant thoughts. They are also making people more materialistic.

Some of the serials are based on ghosts, margins, concepts of the afterlife, rebirth, and the audience is made to believe in these superstitions. People observe nightmares and get scared often as a result. These shows are telecasted at night to the audiences who like horror content. These beliefs of introducing fiction in serials at such extreme levels that make no-sense at all are imbibed in the minds of people. Fiction creates high TRP’s in the entertainment industry.

These daily soaps may sometimes have such a deep rooted effect, that they hamper our ability to think and argue. It is also blamed of reducing our creativity and some can even be found saying it compromises reading and writing abilities also. However, these side effects are associated with excessive involvement and attaching oneself to them.

Many of these soaps spread violence and hatred among people. It is also killing family values. It makes people idle. Many health issues like over thinking, headache, and sleeplessness, imagining oneself in the same position, obesity, stress and anger are also observed. They also affect behavior of youngster in a negative way making them aggressive and less tolerant.

In contrast, there are also great initiatives like Satyamev Jayate that make people 'think' and act in the best interest of society. Some creative, dancing, and singing shows provide individuals with a platform to showcase their talent. There are shows that are musical treat to every music lover. Some of the show TV industries telecasts are educational and productive. There are many educational shows, cartoons, and channels like Discovery, National Geographic that present knowledgeable shows. Mahabharata, Ramayana is also showing that make us aware of values and principles. A few channels are dedicated to dance, fitness, yoga, and meditation also.

There are plentiful of daily soaps which are not only providing amusement to a huge mass but also have a deep impacts in their minds in multiple ways. It is up to us how we can extract the best out of it. Many of the ill effects are associated with excessive watching. Negative behavioral changes can be stopped by selecting appropriate soaps. For example if people are in the habit of watching comedy serials then the effect is optimistic but on the other hand if they like abusive shows/scenes then its consequences will be very serious. Some serials are such that they develop both good and bad effect on human mind as those shows include a character playing the role of a villain/vamp and another character playing the role of a protagonist/hero. Different type of soap showcase different types of tradition, culture etc. The characters in the soaps leave both positive and negative impact on the people’s life.

Of course, there are a few shows coming up with fresh concepts and good morals. The good thing is that people are accepting them whole-heartedly as well. One should be conscious of what they watch because it influences their thoughts and mind. When people realize that they are feeding the wrong food to their brain then the TV industry comes up with some innovative and productive shows to entertain people.

Remember! Entertainment should bring positive vibes all around and should be worthy of your time. Let’s hope for some informative and productive shows for our next generation that would help them to become better individuals

Effects of daily soap on family dynamics

Introduction: Indian soap operas (or Indian serials in Indian English) are soap opera or serials written, produced and filmed in India, with characters played by Indians with episodes broadcast on Indian television.

Fiction has been a popular genre on Indian television. From the era of a single national broadcaster to the time when a plethora of General Entertainment Channels (GECs) has crowded the Indian tele-screen, fictional programming has seen an exponential ascent. TV serials have become one of the most popular offerings. In the age when narrowcasting seems to be taking broadcasting head on, the genre of television serials however seems unperturbed. TV serials have also weaved socio-cultural patterns through their content. The content of Indian television soaps has seen an evolution of sorts. They have made vociferous cultural representations in the process.

The first Indian soap opera, Hum Log, began as a family planning program, and although it quickly turned its focus to entertainment, it continued to embed pro-development messages which provided a model of utilizing the television serial as an "edutainment" method that was followed by countries around the world.

The theme of soaps on Indian television underwent a major transformation from the year 2000 onwards with the entry of a production house, Balaji Telefilms. With lesser-known actors, this production house launched long-running, prime time soaps that garnered very high TRPs (television rating points). This new trend was discussed and debated hugely in the mainstream media.

A 2007 study of cable coming to rural India showed that it led to "significant decreases in the reported acceptability of domestic violence towards women and son preference, as well as increases in women's autonomy and decreases in fertility." It also "found suggestive evidence that exposure to cable increases school enrollment for younger children, perhaps through increased participation of women in household decision-making."

The soap themes underwent a paradigm shift from the year 2008 onwards with social problems like child marriage, female foeticide, child labor, bonded labor and farmers’ suicides providing the thematic context to this new breed of soaps.

Soap 1:

‘Balika Vadhu’ [‘Child Bride’]: Viacom and TV 18 entered the Indian GEC (General Entertainment Channels) domain in 2008 with the launch of their new channel—Colors. Colors launched a new soap opera titled ‘Balika Vadhu’—a story about the age old practice of child marriage set in rural Rajasthan, revolving around the protagonist, Anandi, who is married off at eight. The eight-year-old bride is plucked from her home before puberty and captures the interplay between ritual observances and bursts of childhood effervescence. The family matriarch rules with an iron fist and her sons do not have the gumption to stand up to her. For her, the subordination of a child bride so that she knows her place and purpose in the family is a relentless pursuit. The serial has addressed issues like child marriage, gender bias, morality, sexuality, widow remarriage, caste, class, rural and urban conflict, juvenile delinquency, the fragile and often corrupt credit system, moral corruption within the Indian family system, the institution of marriage, and education. It came as a whiff of fresh air amidst the multitude of soaps on murky family politics. There is, however, some ambiguity about whom the message is reaching and in what shape. Because ‘Balika Vadhu’ also appeals commercially, it meets all the entertainment expectations of the upwardly mobile TV viewer, and more importantly, of advertisers. Critics of ‘Balika Vadhu’ however say the premise— that child marriage takes place in India—is the only real aspect of the show while the rest of the show glosses over the brutalities of India’s real child brides (Kapur, 2009).

Soap 2:

‘Uttaran’ [‘Cast-off ’]: On air since December 2008, ‘Uttaran’ is a story of Iccha, born in the slums of Mumbai but one who desires much more than what her destiny has in store for her. In the hope of giving her a better life, Iccha’s mother joins a rich household as a maid. Iccha befriends Tapasya (the only daughter of the house), and they both form a deep bond. The central protagonist of this soap Iccha is shown to be a vivacious child, oblivious of the class differences that exist between her and her mother’s master’s daughter. While the soap’s title explains this class difference very well, it fails to evolve as a progressive storyline. A poor maid’s intelligent daughter gets a good life, good education and good environment. However, she still decides to live a hapless life where all her decisions are guided by how the rich family that brought her up would be affected. She does not go out of the house to work and does not show any ambition to look after her widow mother who has sacrificed her entire life to bring up her daughter. The protagonist is struggling to fit into the construct of gender stereotype and is not even expressing any retaliation to the class discrimination that she faces repeatedly in the soap. ‘Uttaran’ a soap with a social message did start with showing the aspirations of a child from an economically poor background but then, the story is completely different. It is more about one wicked woman trying to spoil the good one’s life in every possible way. It is very melodramatic. The story became very complicated and the characters were getting more and more domesticated.

Conclusion: Soaps affects Indian society, with regard to national integration, identity, globalization, women, ethics and social issues in rural and urban areas.

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