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Female Entertainment: How The Vision Of Women Is Constructed By Brazilian Television

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Casper Libero chapter.

Female TV Shows: When It All Started

Brazil’s TV shows are something that only started to appear in the country around the decade of the ’50s. It was and is, until today, one of the major sources of entertainment for Brazilians, just like around the world. That said, it is important to recognize the importance of women around this area. Even though they have been conquering more space in the world, women have always been the oppressed gender. 

With TV entertainment, it is not different, since it was a huge advance in society when girls started to lead them. However, almost all of those were focused on female stereotypes, such as makeup, fashion, cooking, gossip, and others. Of course, many women are into those kinds of stuff but, if they have the opportunity to lead any TV show it is unfair for them to don’t give more options. Even though girls’ programs are usually labeled, it is important to recognize that this doesn’t happen with all of them and those kinds of TV shows are very important for women in their fight for gender equality. 

One way or another, entertainment led by women always contributes to constructing an identity of girls around Brazil, having huge importance in showing how society sees them. That said, we are going to analyze some selected Brazilian soap operas, TV shows, and series which are led by women, and how they can build their vision of girls in the country!

retro TV
Photo by Pexels from Pixabay

The Women’s Entertainment In Tv’s Shows

One of the shows that have really been a trend for a long time is “Mulheres”, produced by “TV Gazeta”. This female Brazilian tv show is known for its longevity. Since 1980, even though the program has created some hashtags which reinforce women empowerment, it still focuses on some subjects that are part of the female stereotype, such as gossip, health, beauty, fashion, and cooking. “Você Bonita” is another show also created by “TV Gazeta”, and it focuses on showing their viewers tips for a healthier lifestyle, also contributing to the pattern of the skinny girl. 

To comprehend their success, it’s also important to understand the process of how the female tv shows revolutionized the causes of feminism and how they constructed the vision of women, mostly Brazilians, as well. “O Mundo é das Mulheres” is one of them.

The show was led by Hebe Camargo, who, with other four ladies, used to interview one man, talking about anything related to girls. Since it was the first program led by women, it was a very feminist show for the time that it was released, the 50´s. It helped to give power to ladies in the media, something that has never happened until that time. 

And, of course, we can´t forget to mention the famous feminist and journalist Xênia Bier, who was the first women to lead programs such as “TV Mulher”, which brought some content that wasn´t mentioned in public at the time, such as women´s rights and sex. It was very revolutionary for girls to watch a show that explored those kinds of subjects and it opened space for women in other tv areas. 


Women Through Soap Operas 

It is interesting to observe the evolution of the soap operas produced by “Globo” company, which are the ones which have more audience. In the beginning, the female characters were fragile and impotent, and today it shows the evolution of ladies, with some empowered examples such as Bibi Perigosa and Carminha, who fight for their own proposals, not scared of anyone. Empowered women are one of the feminist topics which are mentioned in soap operas, and, since those novels are exhibited on broadcast TV and have a huge audience, society needs to have contact with those kinds of themes, which aim at gender equality. 

It is also important to observe that some of the soap operas try to contrast the two types of women: the submissive one and the empowered one, as we can see in the novel “Mulheres de Areia”. This can be seen as a reflection of today’s society: although there are self-sufficient women, many others still can’t find their independence.


TV Series’ Fever And The Construction Of The Vision About  Brazilian Woman

Although Brazilian TV series are more popular now since some of them are produced by Netflix, which is an international platform, they also bring many themes of women fighting for their voice. For example, the series “Bom dia, Verônica” is about a female cop who starts to investigate another policeman who seems to be an assassin of young women, even though everyone said that she was crazy and it was impossible. 

Another series which was recently produced by Netflix is “Coisa Mais Linda”. The story happens in the ’60s, in Rio de Janeiro, and it talks about four women, all of them fighting for their space in society. Maria Luísa was divorced recently and decides to open her own business with Adélia; Teresa wants to work on the radio which is formed by mainly men; Lydia needs to get away from her husband, who hits on her and starts her own singing career. All of them have the same goal and they were very revolutionary for the time, bringing pieces of feminism with them.  

Netflix title screen
Photo by Thibault Penin from Unsplash
With all of those examples, we can conclude that, even though women have started to open new chapters for gender equality and being more empowered in media, it is still far from getting where we want to. Today, the majority of TV entertainment led by women are still very stereotyped, and since most of them are exhibited on broadcast TV, it can also help to create an image of girls who are very traditional and antiquated. So, it is important to keep fighting for more diverse topics in the media to create a society more equal for females.


The article above was edited by Lívia Carvalho.

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Lorena Lindenberg

Casper Libero '24

Student of journalism, currently interested in writing about entertainment and culture. Bookworm, music and dog lover, a tv show enthusiastic.