From Social Merchandising to Social Spectacle: Portrayals of Domestic Violence in TV Globo’s Prime-Time Telenovelas

Samantha Nogueira Joyce, Monica Martinez


This article addresses the representation of domestic violence in two Brazilian prime-time TV Globo telenovelas—Mulheres Apaixonadas and A Regra do Jogo—through the use of social merchandising about domestic violence. We conclude that, although the story lines in these two programs might seem progressive and empowering to women who seek to leave their abusers, ultimately they fall short in one important aspect: Women’s way out is usually through a new romantic relationship. We also note that a recent insertion of domestic violence social merchandising has failed, turning the depiction of domestic violence, instead, into a spectacle. Another interesting finding is that domestic violence is portrayed solely as a women’s issue and not a domestic one involving power.


telenovelas, TV Globo, social merchandising, portrayal of domestic violence, spectacle

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