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.