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Representation has eventually changed the lives of each individual in distinct ways. Television is the form of power through which different kinds of representation is depicted. Many modes of representation have made the individual a subject through power and discourse, melodrama, has influenced the individual’s life in a tremendous way. Melodrama is not only associated with television but with other forms of representation such as radio and films. It is claimed that modernity is created through melodrama; it is through melodrama through which the modern citizens is formed and it is what makes them the subjects of power. The individual have became a subject of modernity through the notion of melodrama. Hence, melodrama is a source of power that has converted the ordinary individual into a subject; sequentially, a subject of their own lives. In this paper we will discuss the ways in which power has dominated the lives of the individual through television. We will argue that melodrama has taken a different turn in the Egyptian society, it is revealed that Egyptian modernity is created by portraying the quality of feelings of the women particularly as stated by Abu-Lughod it “may be one way in which Egyptian television serials attempt to create a modern sensibility” (Abu-Lughod p 116). The melodrama of the Egyptian society deals more with emotions when compared to the soap operas of the American culture; this may be the reason why women are so emotionally involved with melodrama. Women are the leading subjects of melodrama, it is through that which they construct their personal lives, as stated by Abu-Lughod, “its placing of strong emotion in the everyday interpersonal world”(Abu-Lughod, p 117), ultimately, it is demonstrated that melodrama affect the emotions of the women in a highly remarkable way. Melodrama is a type of representation through which the society is formed, thus, having a major influence on its people. Melodrama has been having an effect on the majority of the population who are subjects of television and modernity. Abu Lughod introduces the impact that television and specifically soap operas have on the Egyptian population. It is specified that television have an impact on the entire population regardless of their culture and religion, thus, she puts forward the influences which television has on the Egyptian culture, doing it so with the concept of melodrama.
Melodrama has led the individual to make them the subjects of their own life, having rather a big impact on the personal life of the individual; it has turned out to be a method for the women of the society to classify their own emotion through melodrama. Abu- Lughod has linked melodrama with the women of the Egyptian society and she also indicated that emotion and women are interrelated when it comes to melodrama. Television melodramas have turn into a factor which has “informed the individuals'” lives. Abu-Lughod encounters the instances in which she discusses the life of a woman who becomes the heroine of her own melodrama through the circumstances of her life. Melodrama, therefore, individuates the person and makes them the subject of their own life as stated by Abu-Lughod “this link is through the ways she made herself the subject of her life stories” (Abu-Lughod p 123). Amira as a Muslim woman has come to view herself as a subject of her own melodrama which is constructed through her everyday problems. She discusses the way in which she became the subject of her own life; power has consequently made her the subject. She illustrated that her life became a melodrama because she was never supported by her family, especially by her brother-in-law who refused to help her when she needed it the most. She verified that the themes of her story was money, with all the men trying to take over her possession, in this way she was subjected by melodrama of her own life. Abu-Lughod has described the many ways in which television and melodrama have affected the lives of the ordinary citizens. It is specified that women have been more predominately influenced by the melodrama, because they have linked melodrama to their lives, and therefore, have presented themselves as the subjects of the melodrama. Melodrama, hence, is a mode of representation which has constructed modern sensibility; in short, it has made the individual more aware of their self identity. Ultimately, women as Abu-Lughod illustrate it that women are more emotionally attached to the melodrama of the television, they try to relate it with their own lives, through which they are highly influenced by the melodrama. Women are victimized by the problems of their lives which has forces them to become the subjects of their own melodrama, as demonstrated by Abu-Lughod when referring to Amira, “the melodramatic heroine, innocent and good, is wronged and victimized”. (Abu-Lughod p 124)
Melodrama, from the perspective of the modern sensibility is a mode which “constructs and encourages the individuality of ordinary people, hence, in a way it produces s sense of individuality for the ordinary citizen and makes them more aware of their own identity. Melodrama has come to designate the lives of the ordinary people and especially for the women who have constructed an emotional attachment to the television. Television has become as essential part of the society as a whole, it has affected different cultures in distinct ways. In Islam, television is classified as a movement which made “Islam more central to everyday life and politics” (Abu- Lughod p 125). Abu-Lughod has signified that sexuality has made a big difference in modernity. With the support of Foucault’s work she has illustrated that sexuality is what defines the modern self, as Foucault suggested in his work, “the discourse on sexuality has been crucial to the development of the modern self; one become the subject of ones sexuality” (Abu-Lughod p 116). This statement of his seem to go against the female gender, because it has implicated that is it one’s sexuality through which one is subjected to power, hence according to him, this may be the reason as to why women are emotionally involved in melodrama.
The goal of the characters of the soap opera is not signify poetry or folktales, but rather to represent the common citizen. Even though the seriels of Egypt are short in length, they represent the value of emotional and moral lessons within the society, thus, it is due to this they are being labeled as melodrama. Television melodrama, in Egyptian society is a mode of technology which forms new forms of individuality as Foucault put it forward “television melodrama in Egypt might be understood most directly as a technology for the production of new kinds of selves” (Abu-Lughod p 116). It is indicated that the characters of the melodrama tend to provide a model which represent the subjectivity of the individual. In Abu-lughod’s work, Modleski has denoted the relationship between the television and women’ everyday work, she portrays that the television represent a mode of emotionality for women which thus enforces them to take in account the desires of each member in the family. The focal point of the soap opera is that it challenges the women of the Egyptian society to privatize their feelings, as said by Modleski, “soap operas exercise women viewers abilities to read how intimates are feeling” (Abu-Lughod p 117), hence giving them a chance to individuate themselves and make them more aware of their own identity. It has been indicated that melodrama has a great influence on the individual in very distinct ways, for example, it is denoted that melodrama tend to affect the brain, hence, having a psychological impact on the individual. The psychological effect of the melodrama ultimately leads to have an emotional affect on the individual. Melodrama has thus influenced the lives of the women in a highly tremendous way.
Ultimately, melodrama has dominated the lives of every individual in many different ways. Television, radio, films are a mode representation that is interrelated with the women’ lives in many ways. It is through melodrama that the women have became more self aware of their own lives. The problematic issue in the work of Abu-Lughod is that it deals more with women and how melodrama affects them, however, it is not only the women who are influenced or affected by this form of representation. Men are children are also impacted by the melodrama, for example, children tend to become aggressive and violent when they watch violence in the television. The problems lie in the fact that Abu-Lughod did not take into account the influence that melodrama has on the entire population, hence, she has considered the relationship between women and melodrama. If her work demonstrated the impact that melodrama has on the entire population of the Egyptian society than it would have been better to understand the role of the melodrama more thoroughly.
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