This is a class blog run by Dr. Carolina Acosta-Alzuru and her students in the course "Telenovelas, Culture and Society" at the University of Georgia during Spring 2011

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Beauty in Telenovelas

Per our group presentation, my group members and I were challenged to look deeper into the women's issues present in the telenovelas we are studying. Present in each telenovela is a similar depiction of beauty. I wonder who in the telenovela industry, or the media industry, or even the world for that matter is responsible for these concepts of beauty and it's seemingly uniform definition. Consumer industries feed off the unrealistic expectations that they sell to their consumers. Everything from makeup to clothes to food is advertised by the world's most "beautiful" people. Continuing what I stated in class, it saddens me that we live in a world where now even supermodels, the most gorgeous women alive, are even more unattainably beautiful due to technological advances in media. It's amazing to me how contradictory our world is today. In a new age where people are being told to express themselves, be comfortable with their own identities, we are steadily and even more forcible trying to sell them an image of being even better than that. For Christ's sake, animals are now getting testicular implants. Somewhere we've gone horribly wrong. I feel that mass media outlets, and telenovelas in particular should be held more responsible for the consequent effects their shows cause. As consumers we have a lot of power. If as a whole people demanded more media responsibility, I think we'd see some changes in how things are done.

Unhappy telenovela-er

So, when I was researching for our group project on consumption I happened to stumble across some plot spoilers for my telenovela, Rubi. NOT COOL. I was innocently minding my own business, being a good student, etc...just researching away when there it was, right in front of big, black, bold letters--THE ENDING of my telenovela. When I saw it, I think I literally groaned out loud...maybe even shed a tear (okay, okay I'm exaggerating--but, I thought about it). Not because the ending was terrible (actually I kind of think it is) but because I wanted to live every moment of my telenovela on pure emotion, never knowing what was coming next...And now, and now my dream was ruined.
Needless to say for the rest of my researching, I had to cover my eyes and peer through the cracks in my fingers to make sure the web page I was looking at was a safe zone ( AKA a place free of spoilers). I already knew the ending, but I was going to make darn sure that I did not spoil the events between now and then by reading too much. Although this was an unwelcome learning experience, I have to say my strong reaction to the end-ruining information got me thinking--isn't funny how people spend the entire time watching a show trying to predict the ending, yet they actually don't want to know? Watching a telenovela is a very delicate process. We want the details, but there is a process we must endure to gain insight into the plot. If this process moves too quickly, if we miss an episode, or skip to the end via a plot spoiler---we are instantly thrown off balance- and we don't like it.

Watching a telenovela takes patience and dedication. I have sat for hours so far watching my telenovela. I have sat through tortuous break up scenes and tragic death scenes in order to earn my right of passage to the finale of the episode. In a way, I feel like I have been cheated as the ending was just throw in my face--no nothing. This also goes to show how much technology affects the telenovela. Twenty-five years ago the only way a telenovela would be spoiled for someone is if a heartless friend or family member gave the ending away. Now a days, with the Internet spilling over with information we have to tread softly and carefully in order to maintain the mystery of the telenovela...

In any case, I am currently trying to forget that I saw the ending...I am hoping if enough time goes by I can push it way, way back into brain storage...and go into the final season untainted. Ya, ya I know...fat chance.

Social issues in telenovelas

In previous blog posts and essays for this class, I have focused on the issue of social critiques being made by telenovelas. In class, we have talked about Cosita rica's portrayal of the Chavez regime, La Mujer Perfecta's analysis of beauty, etc. In my telenovela, Sin tetas no hay paraíso, the issue of beauty too is brought into question. As I have mentioned before, the novela questions a society that treats women like commodities, prefers "fake" over "real," and values only a woman's physical appearance. However, despite its efforts at social commentary, the women in the novela are still portrayed in this same way. Only Miss Colombia worthy women are ever seen, constantly in bikinis, having sex, and seducing men. I argued in my Representation and Identity essay that for this reason, the novela fails in challenging hegemonic power relations between men and women, and thus fails as a social critique. However, I just didn't understand WHY this was the case. Why does the novela, despite all of its efforts at questioning society, fall into the same trap as every other telenovela. It wasn't until we started studying the consumption of telenovelas that I got a sense of why this was so.

Consumption has everything to do with why telenovelas fail in making serious critiques of society. Despite the efforts and good intentions of the writers, actors, directors, editors, etc, at the end of the day telenovelas are a product to be sold by a large network. These networks exist for one reason and one reason only: to make profits. Network executives could care less if their telenovela challenges the status quo, so long as it makes the network (and of course, themselves) lots of money. It is exactly this reason why telenovelas constantly fall back on the same tropes. They want to draw in as large of an audience as possible, because as we have seen, ratings are like God. For this reason, social critique is included with violence, sexist imagery, and other things the run contrary to the critical message of the telenovela (if it even exists in the first place). Networks want to appeal to the intellectual side of their country, as well as wanting their telenovela to "sube cerro." It is this unfortunate combination that makes the medium of the telenovela a poor one with which to make commentary.

Hopefully, however, things may one day change. Seeing issues like autism being tackled in La Mujer Perfecta give me some hope, but only some. Don't get me wrong, I am still hopelessly addicted to my telenovela. However, I am increasingly disillusioned with novelas that try to make social commentary while working for a large network, but such is the way that things are.

Part-Time Job

It has occurred to me that telenovelas are truly more than just a form of entertainment and past time to its viewers. I’m not so sure if I’d be correct in saying telenovela fan-hood is a way of life but for lack of better terminology, let’s go with saying that it is a way of life. The commitment that goes along with watching a telenovela honestly is no walk in the park. It very different from the typical TV show fan-hood in the U.S. where you only have to donate an hour of your time, once a week, for maybe 5 months to be a true and die hard fan. Oh not so fast my friend. In el mundo de telenovela, it’s a week long, possibly one hour a day commitment, trumping the die hard fans of American Television shows. So all you The Office fans out there, don’t even try to trump on the fan-hood of those La Mujer Perfecta fans out there. After a week of putting in work in front of the tube (Television), La Mujer Perfecta viewers have seen five times the episodes that American TV Series viewers have. And to be truly honest with my peers, I never committed to a show/series like I did for our mid-term paper. I watch tons of Donde Esta Elisa? and maybe watched as many episodes of that as I have ever seen of the HBO series Entourage.

The commitment does not stop with just merely watching the episodes and tuning in daily. With social media ever so important in all industries in our current era, posting comments on blogs, on Twitter, and Facebook are now a major part of the viewership of telenovelas. This is where, in my opinion, viewership is taken to the next level. This separates the minor leaguers from the major league right here. The seriousness of the telenovelas and their fans are expressed through these interactive beacons of opinion and concerns. As we heard from one of the presentations last week, people express true feeling for characters of these shows through these social media. In a way, social media helps to further develop the characters in these telenovelas into real figures for its viewers and those who read these comments on social media. I’m not sure if viewers of Soap Operas have the same kind of passion when it comes to expressing opinions on social media. I did check out a couple blogs for Soap Operas and from my initial visits I can say it didn’t quite have the same affect as some of the comments we have read in lecture and presentations.

Friday, April 8, 2011

A Greater Appreciation

As we begin to wind down our semester together as a class, I must say that this class taught me more than I expected. Yes, I knew that we would learn about the craft of telenovelas and their importance to the Latino community, but I didn't expect to become so attached to my recent in-depth knowledge of telenovelas to the point that I would be willing to share what I know with others who I'm sure could care less. I feel as though I have discovered something that no one knows about, partly because those in my social circle have either never seen or heard of telenovelas. While I have attempted to watch a telenovela or two in my past, I was never fully aware of its impact on the lives of others.

I can now say that I understand all of the hard work put into the production of telenovelas, especially those that lack a significant budget, yet are still able to work with what they have and the final result doesn't look half as bad as an American soap opera. I also realize the love and passion put into writing the script for a telenovela, especially those involving real life issues. It takes a lot of skill to incorporate a story plot around actual events and emotions as seen in the production of "Cosita Rica", where the reactions surrounding Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez are a major part of the entire production.

I hope more Americans will develop a better appreciation for telenovelas like I have. It's important to experience other cultures and with television being one of Americans favorite pastimes, watching a telenovela is a great start.

victim of superficiality

I'd like to share something that I've recently begun to notice in my workplace. As a disclaimer this is not intended as a stereotypical or racist blog merely an observation which I have also discussed with my fiance, who agrees that vanity is a bit of an epidemic in his culture. You see I work in a restaurant and I personally am not one to waste my make up and hair care products unnecessarily. This means that my pre-work preparation consists of a shower a ponytail holder and my uniform. No make-up, not straightening no jewelry. However all of the other females I work with seem to put a significant amount of effort into their appearance and though they are required to wear their hair up while at work they nonetheless proceed to straighten it and apply a full face of make up. Well that being said I've never really cared whether I look attractive at work because quite frankly I'm not trying to impress anyone. The only people who's opinion of my appearance I really care bout are my fiance's and my own. Well recently I've noticed the females I work with "subtly" attacking me and my appearance through snide remarks like this one "Oh I looked at some of your pictures on facebook and it doesn't even look like you, you must only put the really good pictures on facebook." I mentioned this to my fiance and he was a bit infuriated and then proceeded to rant about the superficiality and jealousy in his race. I just find it interesting because yes it's true snide remarks such as this are to be expected from females of all cultures however the women I work with seem to deny the existence of natural beauty. It's as if they believe that without makeup and everything it's not possible to be attractive. I asked my fiance about why he thinks this sort of vanity exists and he said that in his opinion he believes it's because the perceptions and roles of women has made even less progress in hispanic countries than it has in the U.S. therefore putting more focus on physical appearance than other aspects of personality. I suppose this does make sense because not too long ago when women were more discriminated against there was significantly more emphasis on there appearance and less often was it acceptable for a women to walk out of the house without fixing herself. I haven't yet reached any sort of conclusion about this at this point its just something I've observed that has quite frankly begun to irritate me. I suppose once I do come to some sort of conclusion about this topic I will expand but as of now it is what it is I suppose.

Coming to the end and wanting more

I can't believe this class is coming to an end soon. Not because I am graduating in May (unfortunately), but also because I had no idea it was going to affect me in this way. Its not like I'm gonna tune into Univision and watch a telenovela night in and night out, BUT now that we have been working on our consumption projects my group member's telenovelas look soooo cool I need to watch em. I'm gonna start watching some that are online as condensed versions. I still think telenovelas run a bit long but the stories are so captivating! My grandma always watched them when I was a kid and I had to also since it was the only TV in the house, it was always a chore. Since then I always thought, "oh yea, telenovelas, that's my grandma's thing," well move over G-ma, because it's my thing now too!
For too long she has hogged these dramatic masterpieces, and it took a class in college to reel me in when I could've been watching these all along!?! Full disclosure, I took this class half-jokingly because I never thought we could go so in-depth with telenovelas beyond the sometimes shady acting, but boy did we ever. I still am anti-rosa, but hook me up with a ruptura and I'm hooked, a story with a message/lesson, that's what I need.
My next endeavor is watching Cosita Rica, I mean come on, sticking it to Chavez via entertainment...genious!!! La Mujer Perfecta also intrigues me because 1. I love mujeres and 2. the thought of women thinking they must be perfect blows my mind! Ladies, I don't discriminate, stop with the fake, all natural is better. Stop being so skinny, a little thick looks healthier and way hotter.
Yes, JRLC 5060 has opened my eyes to a medium of entertainment I seldom glanced at, gracias Dr. A.

Disabilites on TV shows

Good job to Leonardo Padron on his inclusion in some of his telenovelas of disabilities. A recent study found that at least among American tv shows, there was a very small percent of characters with a disability, which doesn't at all portray the reality of one in eight people having some disability.

Padron has in several novelas included main characters with disabilities and realistically these characters don't magically get healed in the end. In his most recent, La Mujer Perfecta, the protagonist, Micaela suffers from Aspergers Syndrome which is a form of Autism. He infused the show with depictions of real life issues and struggles that people with this syndrome face, infusing awareness raising information with entertainment. Another show he did this with was Ciudad Bendita, where the main character, Bendita Sanchez suffers from a limp.

The article on the Inclusion in the Arts & Media of People with Disabilities website focused more on how actors and actresses with disabilities are not hired for major tv network shows but also mentions the small minority of characters with them. I think that if shows can powerfully hold an audience like novelas can, that the writers should use this to help inform people about the world around them. Although, for some tv shows are an escape from the sad realities of things like disabilities, I commend Padron for his efforts to help raise awareness of disabilities and diseases.

The article was published last September in preparation for October which is National Disability Employment Awareness Month:

Univison trumps NBC

I want to expand on an interesting article that I read earlier today (thanks to a tweet from Dr. A). Last week, Univision jumped in front of NBC in prime time ratings. This is the second time in the past month that this has happened! It's crazy to me that a channel airing in a secondary language in the U.S. could outperform a heavy-hitter like NBC. This shows us two things: the increasing influence of the Hispanic population, and the pervasive consumption of telenovelas within this fast-growing demographic.

The article attributes Univision's killer ratings to the premiere of "Teresa" -- a remake of the telenovela that originally starred Salma Hayek (tough shoes to fill!). Not only did Univision beat NBC in primetime viewers, but it also rose above ABC in the 18-49 demographic. This trend isn't just occurring with Univision -- Telemundo has also experienced an increase in primetime ratings.

As a public relations major, this makes me wonder how PR practitioners can utilize telenovelas to reach the Hispanic population in the U.S. I interned at The Coca-Cola Company this past summer, and worked a little bit on the Coca-Cola Telenovela Club, a sweepstakes program that offered consumers the chance to meet their favorite telenovela stars. I think this is a trend that could really take off as organizations realize the influence of telenovelas within the Hispanic community.

Fans All Over The World

Even after already having finished my presentation on juvenile telenovelas, I've been looking at the different websites that have feedback about Rebelde Way and what I have found is astonishing.

Rebelde Way aired in Argentina from May 2002 to December 2003. Still, to this day, fans write on the group Rebelde Way page on Facebook on a consistent basis. I decided it would be cool to try and see where the people who were writing all this comments were from by clicking on their names. I know that sounds kind of stalker-ish, but sometimes you've got to do what you've got to do, and the results were really interesting.

These are some comments posted from people on the Rebelde Way Facebook page within the last month:

Coey Hottesta- Indonesia
miss the show..
Miss marissa y pablo..:D

wow, i'm the 44,444th person who likes this page :D I really like "Rebelde way" and I miss Mia, Pablo, Manuel and Marizza (:

mmm Bueno aca en Costa Rica fue muy poca la población que lo vimos y vivimos esa experiencia de Novela aparte se cruzo con la adolescencia de muchas (entre esas mi persona) y puedo decir que es excelente la versión Mexicana es un asco

The best Argentinian serial of all!!!!

Eye-bun Masangkay- Philippines
i miss mia (luisana)... :l

It's cool how social media sites help telenovelas live on much longer than they were initially meant to.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Telenovelas as competition

I wanted to expound upon our presentation today, since I personally found the data we gathered interesting and informative to my future career in telecommunications:

I cannot believe that Soy Tu Dueña was able to beat out the other American networks in nearly every Adult demographic. To emphasize the power of this novela, let me remind you of what was airing during prime time during the late 2010 season:

ABC: Better With You, Brothers & Sisters, Castle, Detroit 1-8-7, The Middle, No Ordinary Family, Skating With the Stars and Supernanny
CBS: $#*! My Dad Says, Blue Bloods, CSI, CSI: Miami, CSI: NY, The Defenders, The Good Wife, Hawaii Five-0, Medium, The Mentalist, Mike & Molly, NCIS: Los Angeles and Rules of Engagement
NBC: Apprentice 10, Biggest Loser 10, Chase, Chuck, Community, The Event, Law and Order: LA, Law and Order: SVU, Parenthood and Undercovers
FOX: Fringe, Good Guys, Human Target, Lie to Me and Running Wilde
CW: 90210, America’s Next Top Model-9, Gossip Girl, Hellcats, Life Unexpected, Nikita, One Tree Hill, Smallville, Supernatural and Vampire Diaries

Also, I didn't know that Nielsen could do this, but apparently they can track down and release where they find their randomly sampled data. Ssomeone in the Census Bureau needs to get their hands on this data collection tech!

Another observation I discovered during my research of Soy Tu Dueña's consumption: Soy Tu Dueña's audiences were primarily found in large urban centers: Los Angeles, New York City, Miami, Houston, Phoenix, Sacramento, San Francisco, and to my surprise, Chicago. All have very large Hispanic populations, and the Census Bureau's projections reflect this perfectly. (It should be common sense, but I'm one who tends to need statistical proof before I confirm facts.) To satiate my curiosity, perhaps a case study could be made on how Hispanic Americans in lower Hispanic dense cities, such as from Atlanta, Boston, Pittsburgh, etc., respond to telenovelas without - for the lack of a better term - peer pressures? I'm not entirely sure if Atlanta or rural Hispanic Americans watch telenovelas as frequently as would Hispanics in cities with large Hispanic populations. I've always imagined watching novelas as being a large group-oriented activity. I mean, I never heard of Soy Tu Dueña before this class, and I live with Mexicans!

Who would've known that one population of people could care so much about one show? I trust Hispanic tastes in drama more than I had before, but even without this class: if Soy Tu Dueña can perform better than - and steal viewers from - entertaining shows like Chuck, Community, Castle, Fringe, and Gossip Girl, then I must watch it. I must "try out" Soy Tu Dueña when I have free time again!

*Nielsen data and T.V. schedules obtained from Business Wire.

Maybe she's not so bad...

As I have gone further into my telenovela, I have come to find some compassion for the antagonist, Veronica. Naturally, my first impression of her is as a ruthless vixen who is willing to manipulate and sleep with whomever to get what she wants. However, I'm starting to realize that she is not so evil, after all.
In the last episode I watched of Gabriela, Giros del Destino, Veronica calls up her partner in crime, Ernesto, to tell him that she cannot deal with the sneaking around and lies anymore. Her beautiful face is crumpled with tears as she sobs to him that this is horrible and that she mentally cannot do the manipulations needed anymore. Maybe this is me being a softie, but I actually feel bad for her. The telenovela has not delved into Veronica's background much, but I'm willing to bet that there is a reason for her immoral and crazy behavior. Then again, I could be completely surprised and the telenovela reveals later that this sob show was a secret plan of hers.
Needless to say, I think it would be a fantastic twist in the plot to show something of her past that explains why she is the way she is. Maybe she will come to the good side and fight for Gabriela and Pablo's love. I'm interested to see what happens next.

All Grown Up

Whilst meeting with my team for our Youth Consumption presentation, some of my teammates and I realized that our telenovelas had more in comon than just their youthful audience. Alma Pirata and Rebelde way were both created by youth media expert, Cris Morena, television and media producer. Not only that, but they also shared many of the same actors, including supermnodel Luisana Lopilato (Allegra, Mia Colucci) and teenage heartthrob Benjamin Rojas (Cruz, Pablo).

Upon seeing each other's clips that we had prepared for our presentation, we realized that Luisana Lopilato was in both our telenovelas. We proceeded to marvel over her quick development from the oversexed teenager of Rebelde Way (there's no way any of us can forget Mia strutting through the school halls in a sports bra and tights to the sound of her own themesong) to a seductive pirate wench in Alma Pirata. In just three years!!! The shock was even greater for me when I realized that Luisana was also one of the protagonists in Chiquititas, the series I was COMPLETELY obsessed with when i was younger!!! It was very weird for me to think that I had grown up watching telenovelas with the same actress in them and not even know it, and even weirder seeing the speedy development of this actress into the person she is today! Needless to say, I will never look at another innocent episode of Chiquititas the same way again.

Thanks, Mia.

PS. Fun Fact: I just found out via my grandmother (she just arrived from Argentina) that Luisana Lopilato and canadian singer Michael Bublé (my mom's favorite musician) got married in Argentina a few days ago. Small world.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

How to be like Mia Colucci- A Must-Read??

Click on the link above and I bet you will laugh and think "Is this real?!" just like I did. The article is titled "How to be like Mia Colucci" and is posted on WikiHow, the how-to manual website that you can edit. It looks like this article was created and edited by about 5 people- both with girl and boy names. Steps to being like Mia include being a good friend (?), wearing mini skirts with ankle boots (fairly accurate) and keeping a close relationship with your father(?). There a few things wrong with these statements. First of all, gossiping incessantly and making girls your "projects" does not fall under the definition of a good friend. Also, having a close relationship with your father should be specified that that does not mean using your father for money. ( I realize I may be being very blunt here.) This website gives the bare bones of how to be like Mia, and most all of the steps focus on appearance and beauty. At the very end of the article, it warns readers that a)being too conceited and spoiled is annoying, b) don't be mean to be people and c) don't boss your friends around. Yes, these warnings are all great points- but leaving them at the end makes them hard to see.

Read the article and let me know what you all think! Take note of the ad on the right that says "Lose a little weight each day through this old trick".

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Edgar Ramirez

My favorite telenovela star that we have learned about in class is without a doubt Edgar Ramirez. Ramirez played “Cacique” on “Cosita Rica.” I recognized him when I was watching the Academy Awards because he played “Carlos” in the TV mini-series “Carlos” that was nominated for several awards. I wanted to examine his career beginning with his start in telenovelas.

Ramirez is from San Cristobal, Venezuela. He was born on March 25, 1977, and he is fluent in English, German, Italian, French, and of course, Spanish. After studying Social Communication at the Bello Catholic University in Caracas, he landed several acting roles. His first large role was in “Cosita Rica” for Venevision in 2003-2004. Then, in 2005, Ramirez made his first major international motion picture debut in “Domino.” Ramirez was also in the Sony Pictures’ film “Vantage Point,” alongside American actors such as Dennis Quaid, Matthew Fox, and Forest Whitaker. Another popular film he was cast in was “Babel.”

Several film associations have recognized Ramirez. He won Best Actor in 2008 at the Amiens International Film Festival, nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-series or Motion Picture made for Television in 2011, nominated by the London Critics Circle Film Awards for Actor of the Year in 2011, won Best Actor in 2008 by the Malaga Spanish Film Festival, nominated in 2011 for Best Actor at the Online Film Critics Society Awards, and was nominated in 2011 for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries. Ramirez has had such a successful international career, and I know we will be seeing much more of him throughout the years!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Vanity in Mexico

Recently I was talking to my fiancé's mother about culture in Mexico and how much vanity affects everything. Apparently, when she lived that when she was younger it was practically a requirement for women to be attractive if they wanted to survive. As we all know at the point to be an actress in Mexico if you're not attractive is simply not going to happen there's no such thing as the ugly actor/actress that still gets jobs because they're simply so good at acting. Though yes we discussed that on occasion a unattractive individual my sneak his way into a telenovela as a general rule, no. Well interestingly according to his mother it doesn't stop with the telenovelas in Mexico. Though I don't know if this is still the case, she mentioned that if a woman want to get almost any sort of job in Mexico if she isn't attractive she has a lesser chance of doing so. If they do get the job they would be a situation much like in the telenovela La Bella Más Fea and might be hidden in a closet. I tried to do some research on the topic but wasn't able to find any direct references to the extent to which vanity affects common mexican society. What seems even more interesting about this is when I compare it to the way society works in the United States, though in many areas being attractive as a woman does give you an advantage the business world is not one of them. Often women complain about not getting the same jobs BECAUSE they are attractive and not being taken seriously because they're a good-looking woman. Though the vanity still certainly plays a role it affects women a bit different in the job market. It just makes me wonder why that might be, because as we all know we as american are incredibly vain and shallow ourselves.

Is vanity the real disease?

While watching La Mujer perfecta I've begun to notice how much the vanity of OTHERS can affect your self image. This novela depicts women striving for perfection and striving to be as "beautiful" as the most vain women in their community, so much so that they're willing to undergo drastic surgeries and even commit or attempt to commit crimes in the name of vanity. I found this interesting because to an extent you can witness similar problems amongst women in our society. For example take young girls in middle school for example, where it all begins. Image in a perfect world not a single vain young girl walked into that school chances are none of the other girls would become vain. There are many women who think at first that they're fine as they are and it's not until OTHER girls start to talk about ho perfect your hair, your skin or your body should be that they start to question their own and start to wonder what perfect is. the problem with this is that no one will ever be viewed as perfect by EVERY other individual because everyone has different preferences and perceptions of perfect. So these girls are left striving for an ultimate perfection that will never exist. This vanity seems almost like a disease that is passed down through the generations, perhaps this is our ultimate sin or better yet perhaps the ultimate punishment for sin. Ultimately vanity seems to do nothing but destroy everyone who comes it contact with it. Only the lucky few who are blind to the ways of this twisted social order, like Micaela, could potentially be safe from this epidemic. Perhaps this means that people such as Micaela, are the only truly perfect people out there ironically considering that her disorder (asberger's syndrome) would be the very reason that many might see her as imperfect. Because Micaela doesn't have the same view and understand of social order she doesn't experience the same temptations at least not as strongly, she doesn't feel the same sense of lust she doesn't feel the strong desire to steal, lie or kill and she doesn't feel the pressure to seek "perfection" at any means necessary. Maybe "imperfection" is the only way to achieve "perfection"