Saturday, November 30, 2013

Telenovelas as a public health message

I have taken away a lot from this class. We all have. But one of the biggest things that I have observed was how much Telenovelas can change peoples' lives. For example, we saw in class several examples of Telenovelas that force people to "make moves." What I mean by that is cause people to want to react. For example, the Telenovela we watched about the woman that had breast cancer. We talked about how there was most likely a huge increase in the amount of women that decided to get checked. I don't know about you, but that kinda made me think that I needed to make an appointment. I decided to look for another example of a telenovela that has done this.

I came across a recent article about the Telenovela "Encrucijada: Sin Salud No Hay Nada," which means  "Crossroads: Without Health, There Is Nothing." The article is titled, "Telenovelas Provide Platform for Public Health Messages." The main character Alicia has colon cancer and realizes that her whole life is going to change forever and she is going to lose aspects of her life. But the whole show was filled with actual public health messages like regulatory doctor's appointments, catching cancer at the early stages, etc. 

Dr. Michael Rodriguez of UCLA states that,"these telenovelas are happening every day, so there's an opportunity to have numerous messages heard frequently, by different players, over a period of time." And that, he said, "translates into behavior changes." Do we agree with this? Do y'all feel like you do things that characters do in a show? How big of an impact do actors or actresses have on your actions in your life? This was just another example of something that I have taken away from this class. Telenovelas can really change someone's life. 


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  2. Nicole, I think the article you found is a perfect example of the important role telenovelas can play not only in Latin America, but also in the United States. Telenovelas as public health messages clearly show the impact the genre can have in a society. I talked about the power of the genre in my last blog post, but I had completely forgotten about this use of telenovelas! 

    This article also reminds me of the example we discussed briefly in class about the U.S Census Bureau using a telenovela as a way to reach the Hispanic population and encourage the message, "don't be afraid to be counted." The Census Bureau wanted to increase the number of Hispanics who fill out the census. Many members of the Hispanic population are still afraid of filling out any form of government documentation. 

    The campaign was a huge success, and it was the first time the U.S. government realized the power of the telenovela in Latin American culture. I also found a great article written by the New York Times about the success of this particular telenovela.

  3. The power of telenovelas is pretty amazing! It's crazy that telenovelas have such a stereotype and I wish more people would recognize how much of an influence they have on people's daily lives!
    Nicole, when you talked about how lots of women went to get checked after watching the character go through the process- that alone is enough! The fact that some telenovelas serve as public health messages is awesome, and I think more and more people will start picking up on this over time.

  4. The article that you found is awesome!! I completely agree with it, and I think it makes an incredible point. Telenovelas are on multiple hours of everyday. There is such a huge population of people that watch them all over the world every single day. What a perfect opportunity to provide messages for people, especially if it betters their lives such as public health messages, or equality, etc. There is major confirmation that people do listen and would and will continue to listen to these messages, allow them to impact their lives, and even take action. First and foremost we have already seen how invested people get with the telenovela that they are watching... So it is a given that they will hear and listen to whatever is said on the show. Also, just thinking about actors and musicians and how much we want to be like them... we dress like them, do our hair and makeup the same, aka follow trends they set. Because we love them we not only trust them, but mirror them, so I think using telenovelas is a brilliant idea to get across important messages.

  5. I'm trying to decide how personal to get with this comment. I agree that telenovelas absolutely work to convey public health messages. I think that writers must have special skill to weave the message into the story so it doesn't feel disjointed or contrived. We've seen some excellent examples of that in this class. One such example was the public health message regarding breast cancer in "La Mujer Perfecta." The telenovela showed the reality that women can develop breast cancer at a much younger age than is typically thought. We watched the clips in class, and the message was seamlessly woven into the story, yet the point was clearly expressed. The personal bit of it is that I had been experiencing breast pain for a while, and so after that I decided to get it checked out. I am thankful that I did, because the doctors found a mass (most likely benign), which I am having removed. I think it's important that stories like that are shared for the potential benefit of others — and telenovelas are an appropriate and effective medium for doing so. I absolutely believe in the power of telenovelas to make a positive difference.