TELENOVELAS AND FERTILITY IN BRAZIL

History Professor Daryle Williams talks to Colombian news channel about the affects of television on Brazilian family size.

Department of History Professor Daryle Williams recently appeared on NTN24, a Spanish-language news channel headquartered in Bogotá, to discuss the effect of telenovelas (soap operas) on the size of Brazilian families.

A study by the Inter-American Development Bank found a remarkable decline in fertility in Brazil over the past forty years and sought to explain why. 

The study's authors propose that television, and more specifically telenovelas, has had a measurable impact on influencing Brazilian women to model their lives, identities, and reproduction choices on the idealized standard of a middle-class urban household, as  featured in the nightly melodramas. 

Williams, who has been studying Brazilian culture and society for over 25 years, does not believe that telenovelas are the main factor in declining fertility.  However, he did tell interviewers that commercial television programming generally does have immense influence in Brazilian society, especially for helping to understand the changing roles of women.

Watch the video (Spanish language)