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Evolution of family representations in Spanish fiction television

Thursday 4 August 2016, by SIGNIS

Barcelona, August, 4th, 2016 (C.Lacalle/SIGNIS). When watching TV programs from the 1950s until now, one will be struck by the way a family and family relations are portrayed. What we see in the television programs is often seen as the reality of people’s life, of the society in which it is aired, but it is important to keep in mind that it is the creation of TV producers, who decide what they want to show us.

As they want to have their programs seen by a public as large as possible, they look for ingredients and a morality that are accepted by the “general public”... or rather that the public accepts through the characters in the programs with whom they identify themselves. The producers detect changes in family relations that they decide to integrate in their programs, or not. Since these programs are part of the culture, they often have an impact on the viewer’s views and on the family itself.

One of the latest researches in the field of family representation in fiction television by the Spanish professor Charo Lacalle and her assistant Tatiana Hidalgo-Mari analyses the evolution of family representations in Spanish fiction television, with a special focus on the roles assigned to female characters. The study is based on the analysis of 709 characters, with varying degrees of protagonist in the fictional programming premiered in 2013 and 2014 in national and regional Spanish TV channels.

The results were that the representation of families in Spanish fiction television still privileges the traditional family model, although more innovative family models and roles are being increasingly incorporated. This is due to the evolution and incorporation of new patterns related to family structure, which follows what is also concluded about American fiction.

“We can say that there is no single dominant media model that represents the prototypical family today, unlike what happened in the comedies of the sixties and seventies. The coexistence of achievements and stereotypes in Spanish fiction of the new century is evident in the putting side by female characters that play traditional roles, sexual women objects, victims, housewives as highly qualified or entrepreneurs professionals (... ); although the representation of families in fiction is still taking place, in many cases, from the perspective of the traditional family. Therefore, although the moral hyperrealism that characterizes the Spanish fiction is steeped in modernity, some critics dare to speak of a somewhat superficial hyperrealism”.

At the end, the researchers conclude that the family in Spanish television programs still outlines a model in which women are still closely linked to traditional family structures, despite that some fulfil more innovative roles.
The whole article can be read here.

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