I think that our last class was my favorite of the whole semester. First off, thank you Dr. A for exposing us to new things and pushing us to go beyond surface level learning.
I loved learning about telenovelas in the context of latin american culture because there is so much more to them than I originally thought. When I came into this class I believed that telenovelas were just sappy, dramatic love story soap operas that happened to be in Spanish. For this reason, I wasn't really interested in watching them. I am so glad that I was proven wrong in this respect.
One thing I did not expect to see in telenovelas was political issues. There was so much discussion in our class about political statements being made within telenovela plots. Probably the most common that we discussed was the portrayal of Chavez by Olegario in Cosita Rica. My telenovela for the semester, Pablo Escobar: El Patron del Mal, was nothing BUT a political stance by the writers. It was a historical account of the corruption that occurred in Colombia during the time that Escobar reigned and a plea to the people to never let something so horrible occur again in their country. The reason that telenovelas are a good platform for urging the public to take charge of corruption in the government, specifically in Latin American countries, is because they are trusted. Characters in the shows become like family. They are excellent tools to represent goodness and evil in societies and how to overcome or continue it.
Another thing I never thought telenovelas would be used to address is gender roles. In traditional Rosa telenovelas gender roles are pretty set and not challenged often. The girl is rural and the man is urban and he captures her feeble heart and saves her from a life of poverty. That's the story that most rosa's stick with. This semester we also analyzed telenovelas that do NOT follow this standard. For one, there are lots of modern telenovelas where women are not seen as the feeble one, where the roles are reversed and she is the one who saves the male protagonist. A few different stories we discussed that broke the Cinderella mold were Ciudad Bendita, La Mujer Perfecta, and Cosita Rica. All showed women who were powerful in their own right, who were different and interesting and were more than their appearance.
Although those are only two of the social issues we discussed in class that telenovela writer tackle within their stories, I think they are both good examples of ways that this class broke my preconceived notion of telenovelas. This class has shown me how different media can be used to convey social improvements and that all media CAN be useful to society, if we allow them to be.
In our last class, Dr. A pushed us to find our passion and use our talents to pursue that passion. I believe that the writers of telenovelas have done that and I now appreciate the artistry, especially in the writing and production of these stories.