Excerpted from the writings of the following GHH members:


I do think that soaps fall behind where women are concerned... Certain antiquated beliefs are mainstays. For example, women are still seen largely as needing to be saved--most often from themselves--and those who attempt to be their own saviors almost always fail...The woman-power shows of the '90's seem to be a fairy tale now...

Some thoughts I've been having about GH and about homes. We can start with the not-terribly earth-shatteringly-insightful historical view of the home as a domestic space.  Geographical literature for about two centuries has codified, decoded, deconstructed, and re-coded the age-old presumption that public space is male and domestic space is female. Fine. Whatever.

What I find interesting on General Hospital is how women are given homes as gifts from men. This is an ongoing thing--men buy houses for women in order to secure their safety and well-being. I find this fascinating.

Most fascinating is the ultimate failure of the fairy tale dream. The assumption is "happily ever after," but there is no such thing in soaps. The women move out or move on or their husband dies or the space that was once purchased changes its meaning as partners change.  So at first glance, this trope seems very banally traditional. But then the domesticity of women is again and again under-cut by the realities of impermanence.  A house may indeed be a home, but a man certainly isn't, and domestication of women, despite the constant reminder that they are unsafe and need to be rescued in the man's "public" world, is ultimately a failure. When I want to throw my clicker through the TV because of the way women are portrayed on soaps (I want to love Brenda because Vanessa Giovinazzo Marcil is so good, but could she be any weaker? It's really sort of frightening!), I remember that beyond every reactionary trope is its inevitable subversion.


I love strong women. I raised a strong daughter. This is what I want to see more of but the one strong woman on GH is Carly, and they make her into a crazy shrew.  Sam, who came on as a captain of a salvage boat has to be constantly saved by Jason. Elizabeth, who I thought was a strong single mom, among other problems, had trouble coping although we were never given a satisfactory reason why.  Brenda - pathetic as far as being strong. Robin isn't so bad. Lulu may have a shot at what I want to see on a soap. Even though I don't always love her, she's a tough girl who doesn't take much from anyone. I have a feeling if things don't work out with Dante, she wouldn't be home crying in her bathrobe.

It's a man's world on soaps. I could never figure out why they are written that way when 98% of the viewing audience is female. Do I even have to get into [GH's head writer] Guza's alter-ego of Sonny?

Lastly, forever, loyalty, one-true love, are all words that could never be used in relationship to a soap because of the nature of the beast.


I have to wonder what it is about the soaps that I find so appealing, because I agree that how women are portrayed is odd at best. Why would Brenda, a famous super model, need Sonny to buy her a house to be safe??  Just one example, and of course there is no happily ever after for any one couple on a soap-- it's a serial drama after all. 

So then, what is the appeal for me?  I suppose it is the build up of falling in love, that tenuous, joyful time in a relationship that is fleeting but filled with intense emotional, sexual longing, fear and risk taking, thrill, lust, etc..  Of course, if you are lucky in real life, you have a relationship that moves past those initial phases of a relationship.  Real relationships are naturally more fulfilling and hopefully longer lasting, but also sometimes messy, sometimes boring, sometimes repetitive, and sometimes frustrating -- they take work.  But in the soap world, I enjoy the escape that it offers and how soaps cycle (and sometimes recycle) that first phase of the relationship that is so intense and exciting.

The stories themselves are seldom new -- they have probably been written and rewritten thousands of times through out history, which perhaps is why some of those antiquated values persist.  Who knows, perhaps we are genetically coded to respond to them at some level, LOL.  I'll always love my soaps, sometimes they are laughable, but sometimes they are raw... So even though sometimes I am offended as a woman and I scoff at Sonny and his houses, I still like the stories being told and since I've been watching GH for so long, it's a safe, comfortable place for me to visit every day.