This is a class blog run by Dr. Carolina Acosta-Alzuru and her students in the First Year Odyssey Seminar "More than Melodramas: Telenovelas"

Telenovelas-FYOS-2014

Telenovelas-FYOS-2014

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Telenovelas: Not just a a form of entertainment

My father would always poke fun at my mother for coming home after a long day's work and immediately grabbing her iPad, sitting down, propping her feet up, and watching her Bengali Soap Operas. He thought the shows were mindless and a waste of time for housewives and women to be crowded around the television when they could be doing something more important like, I don't know, feeding her kids. I agreed with him to a certain extent just watching my mother become so obsessed and completely consumed by another woman's life on a little screen. 
This past summer I was in Bangladesh for the entirety of the summer. Here, I also observed women all over the country huddle around the television every night to catch their favorite episodes of multiple shows. I occasionally would walk by and join my aunts and cousins, my mother, and neighbors to watch these addicting tv series, or as I now know them as telenovelas. There was a phenomenon I noticed, however. The influence these novelas had on the public was astonishing. There was one girl in one of the series that would always wear these beautiful, unique dresses. Before we knew it, these dresses hit the markets and every. Single. Girl. In the country, just HAD to have these dresses. They were then called Paki dresses, after the main character's name, Paki (which weirdly means "bird" in Bengali). In my own city alone, there were riots and suicides that were occurring over not being able to have these Paki dresses. A little girl killed herself because her father couldn't afford to buy her one for Eid, a national holiday in Bangladesh. A housewife did the same when her husband refused to feed into her obsession with the show by allowing her to purchase one. I felt really guilty because for Eid my own mother and family bought me four of these dresses 
It just goes to show how serious these novelas really are and the effect they have. This, I believe, was a negative way to show the effects of novelas on the population. It was used more in an economic way to encourage consumerism. In class we learned about telenovelas that served to educate and inform people about various issues, like participating in the census, diabetes, Asperger's, cancer...etc. I believe that is a great way to utilize these telenovelas that have been sweeping nations to the advantage of knowledge. I wish that all telenovelas would have some element of positivity, to teach and educate people about things that they otherwise would know little to nothing about. 

5 comments:

  1. I think this is fascinating how you were in Bangladesh for the summer, and how you witnessed your own portrayal of Telenovelas change from a disliked drama to a soon enriched show that even had a twist on the fashion world. Great entry and I agree with you completely (especially when it comes to the issues of diseases shown in Telenovelas).

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  2. This was a great personal connection you made to what we were learning! I had never thought about it like that. That is so cool that you spent the entire summer in Bangladesh. I knew telenovelas could have an effect on the viewer's lives, but I never thought it could be this extreme. It definitely shows how important telenovelas or any form of mass media are and how they can affect people in different ways.

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  3. I never realized how much influence something a simple as this can have on society. I will admit, there have been times in my life where I stayed in bed all day watching Netflix shows and fantasizing about my life being like one of the main characters. However, I do realize that it is a bit much for something like a show or even a telenovela to have so much influence on society. I believe that is why so many people, especially females, struggle with being themselves. They see these famous actors and actresses and how they were presented within a certain show and think "wow, I want to be like that". Therefore, I agree that telenovelas, soap operas, and TV dramas/shows can have a very negative impact on the society that watches them.

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  4. This is, hands down, one of my favorite blogposts! I was nodding my head the entire time as you explained your father's distaste of your mom's obsession to those television dramas because my parents are the same way! It's funny because my dad would sometimes curiously look over at whatever my mom's watching because she would either be laughing her buttcheeks off or screaming at the series' antagonist. It is crazy how much of an impact a television show can take hold on people. For example, when Senora Acosta showed the tiny snippet of Breaking Bad during the last session of class, I almost had a heart attack.
    I would do anything to be Walter White's main chick.

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  5. This is, hands down, one of my favorite blogposts! I was nodding my head the entire time as you explained your father's distaste of your mom's obsession to those television dramas because my parents are the same way! It's funny because my dad would sometimes curiously look over at whatever my mom's watching because she would either be laughing her buttcheeks off or screaming at the series' antagonist. It is crazy how much of an impact a television show can take hold on people. For example, when Senora Acosta showed the tiny snippet of Breaking Bad during the last session of class, I almost had a heart attack.
    I would do anything to be Walter White's main chick.

    ReplyDelete