Thursday, August 29, 2013

Gender Representation In Telenovelas

After completing the second chapter of 'Santa Diabla', the concepts that we have recently covered in class are very apparent to me.  I am already noticing the gender representation and the 'cinderella' aspects of Santa Diabla.  The protagonist, Amanda Brown, is very much the 'cinderella' of the story. She is a single mother, with little income. She has lost her husband.  She is 'pretending' to marry a very wealthy man in the 'Cano' family. In recent episodes, Amanda has met another man that reminds her of Willy, her deceased husband, which happens to be her fiancé's brother.  The 'evil sister' of this telenovela is the sister in law (surprise surprise right?) who in the beginning, tried to hit on Amanda's husband Willy, before he died.
It is apparent in Latin America that the gender role is primarily focused on the man in the workforce and the wife at home being a caretaker.  While I did see this aspect in the beginning of the telenovela, when Willy was still alive, what I am noticing now is that the the gender representation is becoming contradictory.  In Caroline Acosta-Alzuru's article titled Fraught with Contradictions: the production, depiction, and consumption of women in a Venezuelan telenovela, she mentions how men treat and talk about their wives.  This contradicts the way in which the sister-in-law, Barbara treats Willy in the first episode.  She basically hits on him, a married man, while he is in her house teaching her sister piano.
While the above is contradictory, Barbara and Amanda are both stay at home wives and moms. Barbaras husband is a lawyer, and in the beginning, Willy found any job that he could on the side.  I feel that the gender representation may sometimes be skewed as a result of this being a program produced by a US broadcasting company Telemundo, but it may be too early in the telenovela to be able to tell!!


  1. I think that gender representation in telenovelas has been something really interesting to study this semester. I don't know a lot about Santa Diabla, but in the telenovela I watched, Destilando Amor, the topic of gender was brought up, even if it was done somewhat subtly. The protagonist, Gaviota, goes from being a rancher to the manager of a hugely successful company. It's really interesting to see how her character changes and becomes more and more empowered. She starts out similarly to the protagonist of Santa Diabla; she doesn't have a lot of money and she has to provide for her mother. It's cool to see how she works so hard without a man and gets to where she does. Even though it's a Cinderella story, the idea of empowering women is present too!

  2. It's great to see how the telenovela evolves, connect it to class, and then see how women are represented after meeting the writer, el Chascas. I think Amanda is a form of the archetypal Cinderella, yet I don't think a Cinderella has faced the challenge of defying an multimillionaire family like the Canos. Amanda is a very strong woman, which defies the original notion of the quiet, conservative woman. At times she is rather fragile, yet she has had the audacity to stick up for her dead husband. At this moment, we are seeing other rather fragile characters, machismo, and controlling husbands. Of course, we can all hope and predict that they will rise up and defend themselves from their own personalities and machista husbands.

  3. Gender plays a huge role in developing characters. In "La Reina del Sur," there are many "traditional" gender roles; by traditional I don't exactly mean loving businessman husband and stay at home wife, but instead a relationship where the man holds more power and is in a superior position. In the very beginning, Teresa and el Gringo have a "traditional" relationship; he helped her out of poverty and gave her a new life leaving her wanting nothing. Further into the show, there is a "traditional" power relationship with the women in the brothel and the man who runs it, this influence goes as far as to affect the men who use the brothel's services. In these cases, the women are inferior. However, after el Gringo dies and Teresa gets settled into life in Spain, she works her way up the ladder and gains a position of power. I wonder if the reason Santa Diabla breaks the mold is because of Telemundo, or because the audience likes to see a strong female character who can break the traditional mold.