Click on television’s daytime soap operas and enter a parallel universe. Here, women wear dresses at home. Middleaged men have glorious hair. When women characters languish in the hospital, they wear makeup - mascara, blush, eyeliner! In the universe of soaps, husbands and wives cast each other aside as easily as old sweaters.
The Daytime Emmy Awards nominees were announced this week, so it seems an appropriate time to explore how soaps help erode some of our culture’s most important values. Fidelity. Commitment. The old wedding vow: for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health.
Many of those addicted to soaps are college students and young men and women in that impressionable time of life when values are being shaped. But what they see every day in the soaps won’t help them understand the values that make relationships healthy.
In soaps, sex and romance are big. Couples meet for long lunches and long sessions in bed.
Contrast this with the reality of marriage. Relentless schedules. Relentless responsibilities. Shared goals. The weathering of desert and oasis times together. The true romance of marriage is too complex and boring to depict in soaps. Little drama exists in sticking with family members, no matter what.
In the book “I Will Never Leave You,” Hugh and Gayle Prather write: “Whether our ego likes them or not, certain people are part of our lives and our minds. There are those with whom we came into the world; and there are those whom we have helped bring into the world; and there are those whom we have given reason to believe that we will never abandon. These primary relationships are like the parts of our body: We may not like the way a hand or foot looks or performs, but it is nevertheless entrusted to our care.”
Young adults watching soaps rarely see couples growing older, wider, crankier together. They don’t often see parents helping their teens in crisis. Or grown children caring for their aging parents. Commitment is missing from soap-opera relationships.
So why not turn the dang things off? And spend some quality time with the people that life has entrusted to your care.
xxxx Con soap operas Commitment, fidelity are missing in these relationships
For opposing view see headline: Soaps offer perfect diversions from life
The following fields overflowed: SUPCAT = EDITORIAL, COLUMN - From Both Sides