TV

This Mexican Soap Opera About Diversity STILL Misses the Point

http://www.mastelenovelas.com/2017/10/personajes-telenovela-papa-a-toda-madre.html

Mexico is a country that has a long way to go in many aspects, including the inclusion of the country’s native and black population as it has been mentioned before, talking about race issues, but in reality that’s not the only important matter that should be spoken about. Mexico’s main problem is the conservative, classist and colorist way of thinking. So, when you hear about a new soap opera that will embrace diversity you honestly hope they will finally work on the unending colorist issue that is always there, but the soap opera doesn’t dare to explore that topic at all.

The story is of different, “diverse” families and their daily lives. The show’s diversity includes a white-passing guy who finds out he has a daughter, but he pretty much hates kids so he has to learn how to take care of her; a Catholic extremist who wants to stay married forever even if his wife hates him but then *plot twist* it turns out he cheated on her one day before his marriage and has other two kids; one traditional marriage where the woman ends up working and the guy has to stay home, hurting his meninist pride; one marriage with a considerable age difference and how the people call the husband the wife’s father; and yes, YES, a gay couple. But sadly, all of the characters are, as in any other Mexican soap opera, way too light-skinned as there is no character considerably dark-skinned. Practically, there’s no mention on the colorism issue and lack of racial diversity on that industry and since diversity is a word that that show mentions every five seconds it could’ve been the perfect opportunity to talk about it.

One of the strongest points about this soap opera is that it tries to normalize LGBTQ+ relationships as two of the main male characters were introduced as a married couple that will try to adopt children. As the ongoing debate it is in Mexico it should’ve been introduced in a subtle way more than the way that it was presented to the viewers. The problem is not the way the story is portrayed, that is actually the biggest progress I’ve seen on Mexican public television (the soap opera airs every day at 8.30 pm, still viewed by all audiences) but the way the script tries to make Renée, the female lead character played by the actress Maite Perroni, a women heroin in the most forced way. How? She makes long rants about diversity (that it’s not that visible) and homophobia, which doesn’t fight it in the slightest way and it’s pretty much a slap in the face to the country’s absurd but strong homophobic beliefs. The best way to try to make Mexicans change their mind about the LGBTQ+ community is introducing the characters and writing them a good storyline, making the audience love them for their personality and relationship instead of making the lead female character a failed and forced feminist who somehow makes better speeches than a politician. So, the point is that yes, having a gay couple kissing and living their life normally, onscreen, it’s the best way to gain empathy but the unnecessary ranting becomes annoying instead of empowering, and the soap opera already has a homophobic organization demanding for it to be canceled; the page CitizenGo already has 22,552 signs out of the 50,000 the organization asked for and it’s a clear example of how the proper approach is not being done with a society as traditional as the Mexican.

Another hot topic has been the subtle (or not so?) anti-catholic propaganda. Mexico has the second largest Catholic population in the world, just after Brazil, so making fun and exaggerating catholic beliefs can’t be a good sign either. The appearances of nuns and priests being extremists while, once again, our savior Renée rants about why they’re wrong can feel like an attack on the country’s Catholic community as everything seems to be based on stereotypes.

In conclusion, the idea of the show is good but it honestly needs a better approach, a better formula to make Mexico’s very close-minded people become a little more open and listen to other opinions since whatever the director is doing now is clearly not working and it’s just making people cover their ears. Also, it was the best opportunity to show the beautiful racial diversity that exists in Mexico and one character focused on it could’ve been enough, a clear progress.

The soap opera is very funny and entertaining but, sadly, it’s still lacking.

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