BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 416

BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 416

IELTS Academic Reading Test

Racy telenovelas inspire social change

Brazil’s popular soap operas have done more than just entertain people – they have reduced the birth rate by three million and driven up the rate of divorce, a new report has found. Their colourful storylines of glamorous love triangles, paternity mysteries and ragsto-riches successes have long dominated Brazilian airwaves. Now the racy telenovelas that are the mainstays of the country’s powerful TV Globo network are being credited with more than just their audience pulling-power.

A study of population data stretching back to 1971 has revealed that Brazil’s popular and often fanciful soap operas have had a direct impact on the nation’s divorce and birth rates, as the main channel that broadcast them gradually extended its reach across the country. According to the report, prepared for the Inter-American Development Bank, the rate of marriage break-up rose and the number of children born to each woman fell more quickly in areas receiving the TV Globo signal for the first time.

IELTS Academic Reading Test

Over the two decades that were studied, an estimated three million fewer Brazilian babies were born than would have been if telenovelas had never been broadcast, and 800,000 more couples separated or divorced. If the effect continued to the present day, the numbers would be even greater. ‘Exposure to modern lifestyles as portrayed on television, to emancipated women’s roles, and to a critique of traditional values, was associated with increases in the share of separated and divorced woman across Brazil’s municipal areas,’ the report’s authors said.

Every Brazilian knows that what happens on TV Globo can affect the real world. Its schedules dictate kick-off times for football matches, its costumes influence design and fashion and the telenovelas’ plotlines have influenced the outcome of elections. However, the revelation that the cult of the telenovela has had such impact on the most intimate aspects of its viewers’ fives will startle Brazilians. Maria lmmacolata Lopes, the coordinator of the Telenovela Centre at USP, one of Brazil’s leading universities, said it was the first time that research had been undertaken on such a wide scale.

IELTS Academic Reading Test

Alberto Chong, one of the study’s authors, said the reason for the change was the ‘aspirational ethos’ of the country’s soaps, which, unlike their grittier equivalents in Britain, tend to portray the upper levels of Brazilian society. That generally means characters are whiter, wealthier and better educated than most of Brazil’s 190 million people. They have fewer children and are more likely to be separated or divorced.

Viewers instantly took to that image. ‘If the leading female character of a telenovela was divorced or separated, the divorce rate rose, by an average of 0.1 percentage point’, Mr Chong said. ‘At the same time, women in areas reached by the Globo signal had 0.6 per cent fewer children than those in areas with no signal.’ This may appear to be a small impact, but equates to millions fewer babies born over two decades.

IELTS Academic Reading Test

TV Globo reacted with hostility to the study, saying that it underestimated the intelligence of the channel’s viewers. A spokesman asserted that the soaps’ portrayal of divorce and smaller families reflected the trends of the time, rather than brought them about. ‘Our dramas are attuned to the questions being asked in society. While we don’t doubt the novelas make people think, we don’t believe they actually influence their opinions or choices,’ said Luis Erlanger, Globo’s communications director. Mr Chong rejected the view, pointing out that the chances of a new-born baby being named after a soap star were significantly higher in areas where the soaps were broadcast.

Other international studies have shown that television can infuence behaviour and transform social mores, especially where the population does not have constant access to mixed media. In India, the arrival of cable television in remote areas caused pregnancy rates to fall and enrolment in education among girls to rise.

IELTS Academic Reading Test

Inhabitants of Lutsaan, a village in northern India, were passionate fans of the radio drama Tinka Tinka Sukh. The programme is claimed to have promoted gender equality and encouraged renouncement of the local custom of demanding a bridal dowry. Enrolment of girls in the local school rose by 25 per cent. In other parts of the country, soap viewers were more likely to refute the commonly held view that a husband was justified in beating his wife.

A Rwandan radio serial Musekeweya has had an even more notable impact. Devised and broadcast by Radio La Benevolendja, a partner of Oxfam, the story centres on the conflict between two fictional tribes and the doomed romance between two of its characters. The project has the high hope of mending ethnic tension and encouraging reconciliation. This may be fiction, but the backdrop is very evidently the period just before the horrendous events of 1994.

IELTS Academic Reading Test

One of the earliest programmes to have a far-reaching impact on audiences was the Peruvian telenovela Simplemente Maria first aired in the late 1960s. The central character was a rural girl who escaped to the city to find work as a maid. She learnt to read and, more importantly, to sew, enabling her to become a successful fashion designer. The show was so popular that when Maria married her literacy teacher, thousands of avid viewers collected outside the church to bestow gifts on the happy couple. Across the country, increased enrolment in literacy classes coincided with the storyline.

Back in Brazil, although they have lost viewers to the internet, the influence of the novelas remains evident. The increased presence of slender blondes is credited with driving a shift away from what was once a nationwide preference for guitar-shaped brunettes. ‘Novelas in Brazil take on a greater importance than a simple drama because they move people,’ said Mauro Alencar, the author of several books about the genre. ‘But the novela is above all a reflection of society. It feeds off what is exposed in day to day life and recreates a fictional version.’

IELTS Academic Reading Test

Choose the correct letter A, B, C or D. Write your answers in boxes 1-4 on your answer sheet.

1. According to the text, which of the following features is typical of Brazilian telenovelas?

A.         There is a tendency to favour large families.

B.         Relationships are often unstable.

C.         Characters cannot escape their social class.

D.         Storylines are generally realistic.

2. TV Globo soap operas

A.         are more popular than football matches.

B.         are frequently set in the fashion industry.

C.         have a degree of political content.

D.         frequently shock the viewing public.

IELTS Academic Reading Test

3. Viewers are attracted to Brazilian soap operas because

A.         they would like to be more like the characters in them.

B.         they reflect what happens in their own lives.

C.         the characters are excellent role models.

D.         they clearly show viewers how to behave.

4. What is the point made in the sixth paragraph?

A.         TV networks deserve criticism for their irresponsible storylines.

B.         TV drama should be seen purely as entertainment.

C.         People are behaving just like the characters they see in the telenovelas.

D.         There is disagreement about how influential TV drama really is

Classify the following ideas as referring to the country.

Write the correct letter A-D in boxes5-11 on your answer sheet.

A. Brazil

B. India

C. Peru

D. Rwanda

IELTS Academic Reading Test

5. changes to wedding tradition

6. a relationship destined to fail

7. a desire to learn how to read

8. a reflection of real-life social and political unrest

9. domestic violence being less tolerated

10. changing perceptions of beauty

11. an apparent inability to separate reality and fantasy

IELTS Academic Reading Test

Choose the correct letter A, B, C or D.

12. What is the conclusion that should be drawn from reading this passage?

A.         In the future, soap operas will shape the way many people live.

B.         People being influenced by what they watch on TV has some obvious benefits.

C.         Soap opera writers should ensure that their characters behave responsibly.

D.         Average family size will continue to fall in countries where soap operas are very popular.

IELTS Academic Reading Test


[quads id=4]
[quads id=5]
[quads id=7]
[quads id=8]
BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 416

Get Latest IELTS Books

IELTS Academic Reading Test

1. B

2. C

3. A

4. D

5. B

6. D

7. C

8. D

9. B

10. A

11. C

12. B

IELTS Academic Reading Test

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Best Hot Selling Books | Get Discount upto 20%

error: Content is protected !!
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x