Thoughts on the problem of the ‘soap opera housewife’ and the ‘social media female’ – “The media absorption”

While thinking some time ago I found myself saying something interesting.  In many ways, this is a continuation of an article I wrote called “Thoughts on the new ‘social media’ female – the degradation of the female and mother???“.  How true it is I don’t know but this is what I thought:


I’ve always had this weird idea that soap opera’s were damaging to the female.  In fact, I often wondered if it, in actuality, destroyed the housewife and, subsequently, the wife in general and made many females unhappy with who they are.  I have always wondered about this but never really thought or discussed it with anyone.  One of the reasons for this, no doubt, is that I never heard anyone else speak about it and it sounds sort of far-fetched.

A lot of these feelings originate from experiences when I watched housewifes watch soap opera’s when I was a kid.  It seemed, to me, that it made them unhappy and I think it caused some problems for quite a few (such as depression).  I recall just walking into a house and you could tell if the mother was watching soap opera’s.  It as if permeated the air.  You could feel a ‘soap opera feeling’.  I generally associate it with a sense of depressiveness or sadness or excessive ’emotion-ness’ in some way.  To me, the sound coming from soap opera’s tendended to have dull depressing low-pitched music, soft voices, and a sense of ’emotional drama’.  The housewife was glued to the screen as if being ‘sucked’ into it, often crying or having all these “feelings”.  There seemed to be a reaction to the soap opera by the female that I have never seen anywhere else.  Many of these housewifes developed a specific look, of unhappiness, boredom, and depression.  I called this character the ‘soap opera housewife’.

Because of this, I have always despised even hearing a soap opera because of its association with unhappiness.  I, myself, have never seen a soap opera.  The most I have ever watched of a soap opera was maybe 5 or 10 minutes.  That was about all I could stand.  It was clear from the segments I have seen that one of the unique qualities of soap opera’s is that they cater to the “feelings” of the female, as if trying to pull her in with her feelings much like a fisherman reels in a fish.  Even as a kid I felt that . . . and it seemed very strong.  I could tell it was a whole unique style of movie and storywriting that was unlike the normal movies or stories.  They seemed to pull the female in with themes such as:

  • Drama
  • Romance
  • Gossip
  • The ‘dirty laundry’ of people
  • Affairs
  • Scandals
  • Tear-jerking events

I can recall some housewives talking about how they liked or disliked certain characters, and often with serious conviction, as if they were real people.  I often got the impressions that some housewives seemed to think that they were actual happenings and actual people.  I recall many husbands telling them that its just a show, which the wives would agree with, and then turn around and continue talking as if was real again.  I seem to recall many husbands rolling their eyes over that.

It seemed to me that soap opera’s definately hit something in the female.  It seemed to do this by catering to females more emotional side and need for human relationships (which wouldn’t work with the male as this impulse is not as strong in him).  In many ways, soap opera’s were the first to truly do this on this scale:  a strict catering to the females emotion-strings via relationships between people.  By doing this it sucked them right in and it seems I’d hear many say they were “hooked” on their favourite “soapie” and couldn’t miss an episode.  I seem to recall that they even had magazines you could buy at the store that told the drama of the recent episodes if they happen to miss it!  I’ve never seen that with any other type of series on TV.

I also often felt that soap opera’s cattered to the same quality in females as ‘gossip’ did in the past.  Basically, it gave housewives a “front row seat” to other peoples lives, scandals, affairs, and ‘dirty laundry’.  Soap opera’s are stuff that, in real life, would make great ‘gossip’ material . . . and it sucked the females right in!

All the drama of the soap opera made quite a contrast with their normal everyday existence.  It seemed to make their daily life dull.  In fact, it seems to me, that it was the ‘soap opera housewives’ who first began to view the housewife as ‘humdrum’ and ‘boring’ and ’empty’.  We must remember that many housewives watched soap opera’s while doing housework, generally everyday, so the comparision was always there in front of their face.  Because of this, the soap opera drama was always there all the time, a counterpart to their dull boring lives.  It created things such as these:

  • It made them overly emotional.
  • It wound them up with other peoples lives.
  • It took them away from where they were into another land and place.
  • It made them want to be somewhere elsewhere.
  • It made them feel that their life was dull and empty.
  • It made them develop a poor view of themselves (low self-esteem).

These, in effect, created a female that became emotion-centered and unhappy with her situation.  In fact, I always felt that it made the house look ’empty’ or ‘dead’ to many housewifes.  When they turned the soap opera off they found themselves alone doing the ironing or whatever.  I can even recall that the unhappiness of the soap opera watching housewife has even been portrayed in movies.  Often, they were portrayed as lonely, romance-starved, bored housewives sitting alone in their homes – truly an effect of the soap opera, something that I, myself, saw.

Because it made many of the housewives see the house as ’empty’ it seemed like they “had to” get out into general society.  This meant leaving their home in some way.  For many, it entailed getting a job or doing some socially related thing.  In short, the ’emptiness’ of the home, that the soap opera created, made the housewife leave the home.  In so doing it, in a way, destroyed the housewife and, in many ways, helped destroy the homeIt also caused a deteriation in the wife in general.  Looking at it this way, it has actually done great damage to the female as a whole and has had a horrible impact on the family. 

One of the things it did is make the female too social-oriented as if thats all life is about.  When I was a kid I can recall many females being greatly concerned with what a female did and their role in life (as wife, mother, etc.).  They seemed to have an emphasis on the work or activities of the female and the importance of the female as a person.  Later, they didn’t care at all about that stuff and became concerned only with socializing or social things, as if that’s all life revolves around.  Their life became dominated by the social life.  They have to follow every fad and whim that comes along.  This is often done in complete blindness and to the point of becoming obessional.  In fact, much of the female life, nowadays, is nothing but social-based things, not on what they do as a person or the role they play in life.  This, in actuality, did great damage to the female as it no longer made the female a ‘player’ or a ‘doer’ as a person, so to speak.  This is one of the reasons why the ‘feminity’ is losing a worth and place in life.  This has created a problem with females, nowadays, as they spend too much time in social things and not enough time playing the role of female.


Recently, though, I’ve been seeing similar reactions with the new ‘socially connected’ female who spends 99.9 percent of her waking hours texting or using social media in some form or another.  I’m seeing a similar “look” as I saw with the ‘soap opera housewife’.  In many cases I’ve seen this can be ranked as an obsession/compulsion problem.   It seems as if it is causing similar effects and problems in the female.

Much of the social media is using somewhat similar techniques as the soap opera did, and with the same sort of success and effects.  Just as with soap opera’s, the social media pulls the female in by:

  • Playing on the females emotion-strings
  • Catering to the females need for relationships.

And just like soap opera’s they are being sucked into it and it is, in some cases, having complete domination of their life.   Accordingly, its causing problems.  Its causing similar problems as with the ‘soap opera housewife’, such as:

  • Unhappiness
  • Depression
  • Obession
  • Socially-fixated
  • Low self-esteem

Its creating a specific character of female which I call the ‘social media female’.

They often have this empty vacuous look as if they are looking out into space all the time and often have monotone, almost robotic, voices.  There is often a look of unhappiness about them.


One aspect of the ‘soap opera housewife’ and ‘social media female’ is that they don’t seem to see their unhappiness, depression, and other problems.  So far, I’ve seen none that do.  The soap opera and social media are so powerful that they become as if ‘fixated’ on it to the point that they have this tendency to forget themselves.  This, in a way, is the problem with this:  it makes them forget to “maintain” themselves.  It’s an absorption so strong that it absorbs who they are and, as a result, destroys who they are.  This, in my opinion, is doing great damage to the female as a person and a human being.

It’s interesting that, in the past, it has done great damage to the ‘female-as-a-person-in-society’, with the female role and place in society.  It seemed to of helped destroy the social significance and role of the female, things like the housewife and the wife and the mother.  Nowadays, the damage is not one of social role but as a person, a human being, the ‘female-as-a-person’.  This is what is being threatened today.

All this shows the unique power the media can have on the female.  I call this phenemena “the media absorption”.  Like a vacuum it seems to suck them in.  “The media aborption” seems to absorb them so much that it absorbs who they are resulting in great neglect of themselves (socially or as a person).  As a result, their lives become ‘fixated’ on what the media does to them and their reaction to it.  All their viewpoints, feelings, identities, etc. all have a basis in the media.  In so doing, the media controls their lives.  Just like with the ‘soap opera housewife’ we’re seeing the ‘social media female’ becoming overly emotional about things in the social media, crying over every tragedy thats on the social media, living life through other people on the social media, becoming engrossed with the ‘dirty laundry’ of other people, and so on.  And just like the ‘soap opera housewife’ we’re seeing girls become increasingly unhappy, depressed, feeling empty, and a general unhappiness in who they are.  It’s almost the same thing, but with a little bit of difference.


The unhappiness of the illusionary, almost phantasyland, quality of the “the media absorption” makes many females not want to be who and what they are.  The media makes their life look ’empty’ and ‘humdrum’ as they look out into the illusionary world of the media.  In other words, it makes girls seem themselves poorly and their lives.  They as if wanted to chase this illusionary world of the media by going somewhere else.  In the past the females went away from being housewives, wives, and mothers because, at that time, things were more social role oriented.  About all there was for them to do was to get a job, which is about all they could do to get them out of their current situation.  The great benefit of getting a job is that it got many girls away from the soap opera’s which, it seems to me, helped many  of them improve for that reason.  Many girls seemed to feel better about themselves as a result.

But now the new ‘social media’ has appeared and started the whole process all over again.  It has created a unique problem.  Unlike the soap opera, which required a TV, girls now carry the ‘social media’ with them at all times, often in their hand!  Before, the housewife could ‘escape’ from the soap opera.  Where do the girls escape from it now when its with them at all times?  Where can they go now?

Just as with the ‘soap opera housewife’, which did much destruction to the female, the path of the ‘social media female’ seems to be taking a similar course.  Because of the domination of ‘social media’ they are as if transforming themselves into its shape but, in so doing, they destroy themselves.  This, to me, is quite evident.  Many females, it seems to me, are in a dilemma, of who they are and what their exact role in society is.  Some of the things I’ve seen that show this tendency include:

  • A greater absorption in media.
  • Having to follow every trend that comes along.
  • A ‘fantasyland’ perspective on life.
  • Seeking to be something they are not.   I’m particularly starting to see a trend, in many females, where they are primarily having problems with sexual identity.  Many females are going so far that they are trying to be men or, in some cases, don’t know what sex they are.
  • A degradation of self, of falling into depression, low self-esteem, and such.

The fact is that they can not escape who they are.  No job, no career, no pretending to be something they are not, will change that.  Overall, to me it appears that the female has hit a wall, there is really no where they can go.  In effect, I see that the female is in an existential dilemma.  The problem is that they don’t seem to know it!  In some ways, the ‘media absorption’ is hiding and disguising this dilemma, making it appear non-existent.  But, at the same time, it is contributing to the problem making something like a vicious circle that goes around and around.


The female character seems vulnerable to “the media absorption”.  They fall to it very easily and let it control their lives almost without thought.  I have always felt that this ease of falling to it originates from the childbearing tendency in the female.  This tendency is innate in the female and, as a result, moulds much of their behaviour and life.

The childbearing tendency creates certain character traits in the female, all originating from motherly-like instincts, which are as if projected onto the world.  This makes it so that the female tends to look at all the world in a ‘motherly cast’ sort of a way.  In many ways, the female tends to treat the world as if it is a “child”.  Some of the things it does include:

  • A tendency to be emotion-first.  This makes it so that the female tends to see the world through the lens of emotion.  As a result, the female relates with the world on primarily an emotional level (whereas males do not).  This is because the mother instinct is based in emotion as a primary connection with other people.  As a result, the catering to emotion has great impact and influence on the female, her behaviour, and how she views the world.
  • A tendency to need someone.  There is an innate tendency for the female to need someone, no doubt originating from the innate need of a child.  But it tends to be projected onto the world, in a general way, and becomes a need for almost somone or some perception of some “other” person.  I call this innate need for someone else ‘The principle of the other’.  This makes it so that the female is almost in a perpetual need for someone, the “other”.
  • A tendency to ‘absorb’ someone else.  Motherly love is a special type of love.  It is actually a sort of absorption of the child, or a representation of a child. When this happens the child, or its representative, is as if ‘taken into’ the mother, becoming a part of the mother.  To put it another way, the child, or its representative, are viewed as an extension of the mother, as if it is part of her body or self.  This makes motherly love, really, an extension of a self love in the female, as the child must be perceived as part of herself to be “loved”.  As a result, the female tendency to ‘absorb’ is nothing but the identification of herself with the ‘other’, often as if they are one and the same.
  • A tendency to be ‘mentally absent’.  The tendency to ‘absorb’ requires that the female must be ‘part empty’, so to speak.  That is to say, she needs something to ‘filll up’ the ’empty’ part within her.  This is done with the “other” (child representative).  Because of this, being ‘filled’ with the “other” becomes the ‘absorption’.  In short, it tends to make them see themselves as an extension of the ‘other’, who they place first and follow and will often live through.  Because of this, they often ‘forget themselves’, often treating themselves as if they are not even there.  This makes them ‘mentally absent’.  Often this is done to such an extent that many females need to be ‘dominated’ or ‘controlled’ or ‘told what to do’.  I speak of this tendency of being ‘mentally absent’ as ‘the partial mind’.

With these traits we can see that “the media absorption” is really a result of projected motherly-like impulses.  The ‘media’ becomes the representative of the child, who the female ‘absorbs’.  It also fullfills her need for someone through ‘social connection’.  But her tendency to be ‘mentally absent’ makes the female ‘lose herself’ in it all, forgetting who she is.  This makes it a ‘complete absorption’ and it can turn into something like an obsession/compulsion very easily.  Its an example of what I often call ‘misguided motherliness’ where the motherly tendency in the female is misguided into areas it is not meant to go.  When it does this it tends to become very ineffective and counterproductive.

I tend to see this as a crisis with females nowadays as this is a good example of how much of their innate tendencies really no longer have a place or purpose.  Since the “role” of the mother, for example, is no longer that useful they try to ‘mother’ everything else in the world.  This tendency is even getting to the point that many females think they are the ‘mothers’ of the world, the ones who care for it, and that they are the great representatives of ‘love’.  If one looks behind all this show one can see that many females are still trying to satisfy their innate need to ‘mother’.

Copyright by Mike Michelsen

This entry was posted in Male and female, Mass communication: media, social media, and the news, Modern life and society, Psychology and psychoanalysis, Science and technology, The U.S. and American society and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s