I titled this piece "Sexism in Soaps" purely for the alliterative purposes. I only watch one soap and that's Hollyoaks, but my point is probably valid across all soaps.
So obviously sexism is everywhere, all the time. However, it was only the other day that I realised one massive, blatant act of sexism in Hollyoaks that really wound me up. A female character, Leela, entered the show as a firefighter, which is a pretty cool career I thought. A single mum for a while, Leela was earning money to look after her two sisters (one of which turned out to be her daughter in the end...) and was basically the breadwinner for the family. This was a pretty cool #bossbabe and I approved.
And then Hollyoaks created this scenario; the fire station cut Leela's hours down and eventually got rid of her altogether. Of course, Leela wasn't going to sit around doing nothing all day. So what did she do? She became a house cleaner. She literally cleaned toilets and made beds for a pittance. I was so mad. Finally they had a female character who wasn't portrayed as a "slut", who wasn't having babies with every man left, right and centre and wasn't living off of benefits in a house that seems to have an infinite number of rooms (McQueen family, I'm looking at you!). They finally had a woman with a bit of a 'masculine' job role, a worthy career and they took it away from her and made her a cleaner. (No, there isn't anything wrong with being a cleaner. But for the purpose of the point I'm making, going from a firefighter to a cleaner sucks).
Why? It hasn't benefited or affected the story line in any way at all so I don't see why this adjustment needed to be made. It's not the only sexist mistake they've made either. Pretty much all of the females working at the hospital are nurses, not doctors. There was a female doctor, but they killed her off. Most of the other women are "stay at home mums".
However, they have redeemed themselves in some ways. They have some entrepreneurial women, such as Grace Black, who owns and runs her own nightclub single handedly, Esther Bloom who came into some money and bought her own coffee shop which she also runs and Maxine, who started her own taxi women especially for women to keep them safe.
I don't watch any other soaps as I've said, but have you noticed sexism in any of them? Let me know in the comments below!