The term Soap opera is composed of the words soap + opera and its origin is not so old. The radio-theater from the 1930’s and television from the 1950’s in the US, popularized melodramatic dramas portraying everyday domestic situations. Those American television programs were (as they are still today) predominantly were aired after lunch, and were aimed primarily at the female audience.
It is necessary to understand that at the time the cosmetics industry did not have the same variety of supposedly beauty products such as shampoos, conditioners, tip repairers, rinse, ointments, moisturizing creams and liquids, exfoliants, antioxidants, anti-wrinkles, revitalizers, rejuvenating, etc.
The products that at the time explored the idea of providing beauty, both to the skin and to the hair, were simply soaps.
It must also be understood that a large percentage of the female population at the time did not have a professional or employment career, and were usually at home.
If we accept the fact that much of the female audience is attracted to melodramas, and that this same audience is concerned with aesthetic beauty and is easily influenced by the idea of acquiring it, we will easily understand why TV melodramas were often sponsored by brands of soap, giving rise to the term soap opera .
Finally, if we consider that operas were considered one of the highest artistic-cultural manifestations of mankind, we will easily understand the ironic tone of the word opera in the expression soap opera for today’s telenovels.