Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Reach of Telenovelas: Voluntary or Mandatory

"Telenovelas reach people in a way no single politician has ever been able to."

During our lecture from Dr. Granier in class today, this statement is one that really stood out to me. Sometimes we often forget the hold that pop culture has one society, whether we consciously choose to follow it or not. It influences the way we dress, language we use, norms we follow, etc. But the control isn't because we're told we have to follow it, but we choose to emulate it in everyday life so that it can be more like what we see on TV.

His comparison to politicians was unique to me though. Because the government and our representation within it are the body that very literally decides what we can and cannot do. They openly sets boundaries and makes laws that affect our actions. But it's true that they don't influence everyday behavior the same way as telenovelas, or any other pop culture, can. Because humans don't like being told what to do, they want to choose what to do. And by relating to actors in your favorite telenovelas, people are able to resonate with them and feel that their consequent actions are voluntary. This juxtaposes how people view politicians, which is as intentionally forceful governing entities.

But just because the way pop culture permeates society, does it make it any more voluntary? Yes, people choose to align their views with a character or buy the same jeans an actress wore on her day off. But, it also creates a society of unattainable standards as we saw while discussing things like plastic surgery and gender roles. Society may choose to be like their favorite telenovelas, but is that hold they have on society any less controlling than that of the government or politicians? Likely not. They're strangely opposites, yet with several similarities. And I'm looking forward to diving more into the interweaving that telenovela culture and politics have in Latin America and beyond.

No comments:

Post a Comment