Two of the most popular of television genres, soap opera and sports coverage have been very much differentiated along gender lines in terms of their audiences. Soap opera has been regarded very much as a ‘gynocentric' genre with a large female viewing audience while the audiences for television sport have been predominantly male. Gender differentiation between the genres has had implications for the popular image of each. Soap opera has been perceived as inferior; as mere fantasy and escapism for women while television sports has been perceived as a legitimate, even edifying experience for men. In this article the authors challenge the view that soap opera and television sport are radically different and argue that they are, in fact, very similar in a number of significant ways. They suggest that both genres invoke similar structures of feeling and sensibility in their respective audiences and that television sport is a ‘male soap opera'. They consider the ways in which the viewing context of each genre is related to domestic life and leisure, the ways in which the textual structure and conventions of each genre invoke emotional identification, and finally, the ways in which both genres re-affirm gender identities.
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Document Type: Research Article
School of Communications, Dublin City University, Dublin 9, Ireland
Communication Department, Glasgow Caledonian University, 70 Concaddens Road, Glasgow, G4 0BA, Scotland, UK
Publication date: 01 April 1993
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