If TV Soap Operas can influence the minds of millions of Brazilians out of producing so many children, what else do you think that electronic box can make you do?
In a recent study performed by Eliana La Ferrara of Italy's Bocconi University and Alberto Chong and Suzanne Duryea of the Inter-American Development Bank, soap operas may be a factor in the drop in fertility rates in Brazil. Where in 1960 the average Brazilian woman had 6.3 children, results shown in a 2000 census tell this rate is down to 2.3. Puzzled by this drastic reduction in birth rates and without a state policy that reduces your allowance of children, researchers began to analyze this trend.
It seems a commercial network, Rede Globo , could be to blame. For the past few decades most of the Brazilan population has regularly tuned into these Soap Operas or Novelas. These Novelas depict smaller family groups where 72% of the actors have no children and 21% have only one child. Watching these shows for decades and becoming entranced into the lives of these players seems to have had an impact on what family size the Brazilian Nation thinks it should have. Just as seeing your favorite star in a certain pair of jeans or drinking a certain beverage can lead to purchasing the product yourself as a means of relating to this persona a celebrity can evoke from yourself, it seems watching these Novelas are changing the patterns of family life.
Foreign Policy told how in Indian villages where satellite television was being broadcast, women were able to watch a more liberated urban woman an in turn views were changed. These women became less tolerant of spousal abuse and less biased on having a male offspring. They also felt more in their right to spend money without permission from their husband.
The television is a wonderful invention and means of communication but owners of communication own the power of persuasion. With influence and power comes responsibility. With 120 million viewers daily, Rede Globo, is the fourth largest network in the world. The owners of these Novelas may never have thought by producing a simple show, they could change the population of their world but it has.
Wow! Just thinking about a network changing my views on the amount of children I may or may not want to have is mind boggling. It makes me question who I might be without the tube...
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