Women's Education: A Marketing Strategy in Indian Soap Operas
59 Pages Posted: 4 Oct 2012
Date Written: October 2, 2012
The aim of the study was to understand the conception of women’s education by the Indian masses, by examining its portrayal in Indian soap operas. The study sample included 51 daily serials. To examine the status of education of the lead female protagonist as well as the female antagonist in relation to marriage, 25 daily serials (in hindi) with the highest television viewers’ ratings from May 25, 2012 to June 2, 2012 were sampled. To record the temporal trends in the past one decade, contents of the soap operas that were nominated for the award of Best Daily Serial (Popular) by Indian Telly Awards (since 2001) were also sampled (N: 33). Content analysis was performed: the specific characteristics of 51 Indian daily soaps were identified, recorded in the predetermined categories, and coded. Moreover, four serials were analysed in-depth, and recurring themes were recognized, forming an insight about female identity as woven around education in the Indian context. The major finding was that marriage affects the protagonist’s professional lives negatively, even in serials that explicitly focus on the female protagonist’s education. Marriage doesn't play as significant a role in the female antagonist’s professional life. The female antagonists are often shown as financially independent. There is a stark shift in the focus from an extraordinary and contemporarily relevant theme of girl’s education to universal themes like love as well as an appeal to collectivistic identities operating within the confined norms of a ‘traditional’ culture. Thus, the paper concludes that the serial makers craft the serials about women’s education so as to lure a wider audience base.
Keywords: daily serials, Indian soap operas, content analysis, women, education, marketing
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