Thursday, September 24, 2015

Hey Pablo, This One's For the Ladies

In Pablo Escobar, there is an immediate and definite break from the rosa style of telenovelas, but poor Paty still plays the fool –– for a time.

Initially, she is a sweet and innocent young girl, roped into to marrying Pablo young due to pressure from her family. While they disapprove of Pablo –– especially her older brother –– their rigid traditional values influence them to tell her that if she's going to run around with a boy, she should be married to him. 

As soon as they are married, Paty asks Pablo if he will be faithful to her forever; he of course agrees. This is a blatant foreshadowing. Not long after, Pablo is back with the prostitute and later, many, many different women. 

At first, one might think this is the same old trope: jealousy, perceived or real infidelity, misunderstandings, broken relationships. However, I think the writers are intentionally playing with representations of gender and what is accepted societally. 

Pablo has jealous rage for Paty and acts on that rage. Paty tries to be a bit more cunning, a bit more witty. She knows when he is lying and pushes past acceptance of his behavior. Perhaps the most shocking moment for me in this show was not when Pablo suffocated and killed a man, but when Paty asks her mother-in-law for advice and her response is to laugh at her and tell her that she should do nothing, because "all men are unfaithful".
But paty doesn't heed her advice; she sneaks around and arranges a meeting with who she thinks Pablo is cheating with by lying and saying it is a job interview for her.

While her efforts are without reward, she continues to try to balance between being a good wife and sticking up for herself. Despite her best efforts so far, Pablo has used (what he thinks is) charm to avoid her attempts to confront him –– about other women, about his business, about always being away.

I think the contrast between Paty and her mother in law are an attempt to cause the viewer to question how women are treated and represented in real society. She represents a struggle many women face –– being strong and assertive yet struggling in a –– typically –– male-dominated society.

The deeper I get into this telenovela, the more I will be able to see how the writers play with Paty's role.

Will they allow her to have a voice, or will Pablo continue to squelch her?

In either case, it will provide an interesting commentary on the role of women and the representation of women in society, ranging from old traditionalism to new modernist ideals.


  1. I saw this post earlier and I immediately wanted to know how this developed (I've literally kept this tab open for weeks so I could follow up on this!). I'm curious as to how this mother-in-law//daughter-in-law relationship has changed throughout the show. After reading your post, I immediately thought this relationship was a representation not necessarily to push viewers to question the role of women in society as a whole but to pose a more common issue that women could then expand upon. I feel like there is often tension between the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law that a lot of viewers can relate to, but the pressure this tension puts on the daughter-in-law's actions is what results. Some cave to the pressure of the mother-in-law, and others become the "new" woman of the house. Obviously, it's a great source of additional drama to the plotline, but I think this is a platform that many women can relate to and then can be used to expand on current developments in the role of women in society. However I feel that these issues may lean more towards challenging standards among females as opposed to the male/female dynamic. Is this the case? Or has it lead directly to challenging female submissiveness in a male-dominated society?

  2. Hey Sophie! As I've watched, I haven't seen the mom get much better. And I haven't seen Paty get any stronger! At one point, she was crying to Pablo and accusing him of being with other women and she seemed like she was standing her ground. But per usual, he made her feel like a total idiot for ever thinking such a thing and SHE ended up apologizing.

    In response to your question about female/male v female/female––I feel like it touches on both. There's a stark difference between Regina (the strong female antagonist) and Paty (his submissive wife). But then there's also a tension between Pablo and Regina and Pablo and Paty. In both relationships, he's searching for control and domination (in every area really).

  3. Thanks for following up, Callie! This one's definitely on my watch list, but I don't know if my feminist heart can handle all that for an entire 74 episodes!