Thursday, October 10, 2013

Sin Tetas No Hay Paraiso: Controversy and Protests

Sin Tetas No Hay Paraiso was a telenovela with very polemic and disturbing topics. It brought to light a variety of sociocultural and socioeconomic conflicts that inflict the nation of Colombia. The main problems portrayed in this telenovela include obsession with beauty and plastic surgery and the division narco-trafficking brought upon the nation. Although the writer of the book in which telenovela obtained its story wrote it in order to cause people to think about their actions and the implications it brought upon Colombia, many individuals felt that it portrayed a negative image of their country. On August 30, 2006 many citizens of a small city known as Pereira took to the streets to demonstrate their discontent. Many of the telenovela’s scenes were filmed in this city and many felt that they were singled out as a haven for drug traffickers, prepagos, and sicarios. The town’s mayor went as far as threatening to file a lawsuit against Caracol, the network producing Sin Tetas No Hay Paraiso, for airing the the telenovela. Mayor Juan Arango Velez stated, “We were provoked and this was a way to stand up and say that the women from Pereira aren't all prostitutes.” 

I found it interesting that a simple telenovela made for profit and entertainment could bring such strong reactions when it had not even aired at the time. Although the citizen’s of this city and the mayor were not able to achieve their goal in ending production of the telenovela, they showcased the divisive and touchy nature of the novela’s plot. Given its controversial nature and explicit content as well as countless protests, the telenovela increased its ratings because of this. Everyone wanted to know what all the talk was about. Being Colombian myself, I know that we are a very nosy people or as we call it, chismosos. Since there was so much talk even before it had aired, it brought about an air of curiosity that brought in many viewers. I feel that the protesters’ goal did not go as planned. They helped bring more viewers for the network instead. 

With its premiere in August 2006, the telenovela’s audience jumped 25%. This surpassed the early ratings of other very successful Colombian telenovelas such as Betty La Fea. However, the debate still remains as to whether the telenovela was shown to bring about a new debate and consciousness on the overwhelming pressure women in this country feel to have the perfect bodies and sub-come to going through a procedure or whether the network was just going after ratings and therefore showed as much cleavage and breasts as possible. In my opinion, I feel that it was a bit of both. Skin brings in ratings and a well developed plot line that causes the audience to think and feel connected to the characters brings about a much needed debate over the controversial topics of beauty and drugs the plagues Colombia as well as many other Latin American nations. 

In my case, Sin Tetas No Hay Paraiso helped me learned more about the struggle of the lower class to better themselves and the luring effects that prostitution and drugs had on individuals that normally would not be able to obtain the riches that these two illegal trades brought. It also helped me to understand why some women went to extremes just to fit in or catch the eye of a man. If you are constantly told that you would be better by just having larger breasts, that phrase would get stuck in your head. Everyone is striving to be better and many feel that if a “harmless” surgery helps, then there should not be an issue. Once again it is a very controversial topic and I cannot wait to see how the telenovela progresses. 

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