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

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Not Everyone in Entertainment is Crazy

In class on Tuesday we skyped Primera Actriz Julie Restifo and the renowned Brazilian director Claudio Callao. At first I was really nervous because I’ve never spoken to anyone in the television industry before and I didn’t know what to expect. My previous impression of celebrities and their personalities stem from the media; for example, crazy Lindsay Lohan or Charlie Sheen.

I found it really neat how easy to talk to both Julie and Claudio were. It was really cool to talk to Julie and Claudio and learn that people that work in the entertainment industry are down-to-earth and easy to talk to. They both had really interesting life experiences to share with us and I'm happy I got to talk with them.

Being able to connect everything that I’ve studied and researched with our conversation Tuesday was really beneficial. I really appreciated all of the inside scoop on the telenovela world that Claudio and Julie shared with the class. Through working on the class assignments (having to watch a whole season of a telenovela) the papers and the presentations, I have really gained a greater appreciation for the telenovela genre.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Body Image

I am pretty far from a feminist, but something I've found very interesting in class is looking at the issues of body image and how females are portrayed in telenovelas. I have a lot of respect for Leonardo Padron after learning about the normal Venezuelan view of women. Seeing his telenovelas addressing this issue outright, like in La Mujer Perfecta, is really cool. I consider our culture as having pretty harsh standards for women as far as looks go, but it sounds to me like we are a far cry from Venezuela when it comes to standards. I feel the pressures here in America as we are bombarded by images of beautiful models and movie stars. I can't imagine being a young girl in Venezuela where you are bombarded with Miss Universes. I would hope that I would still have confidence in myself as I am, but it sounds like the pressures there are more etched into the culture than here. Here, I think we recognize that the pressures exist, where in Venezuela, from what Dr. A has said about conversations with her family and friends, the pressures are not recognized but are accepted as commonalities.
A twist to this that I also find interesting is the issue of women using their bodies to get what they want. This takes the body image issue to another level. Not only are women pressured to look perfect by the mere beauty of the women they see, they are also seeing that being beautiful and sexy is also a necessary attribute to get what you want in life. The whole body image issue is always going to be a big one, but I think recognizing the issue is very important, especially for young girls. Using Hispanic television's most popular outlet of telenovelas is definitely a great way to do this.

I know many others have talked about how much this class has affected them but it’s so true, this honestly has been one of my favorite classes I have taken at UGA! I now it sounds cliché but this class has brought back the fun in learning. I am currently working on a Spanish minor and for a while was beginning to contemplate whether or not I wanted to continue pursuing the minor or not. I was feeling school itself was turning into a telenovela and wasn’t sure I was going to be able to keep up with it all! It was this class that made me decide to finish my minor, and made me remember that learning Spanish is fun!

Learning about telenovelas has been so interesting. I was curious coming into the class what all I would learn from a course just on Spanish soap opera and I was amazed at how much goes in to make the shows, all the social aspects and connections there are to the real world and real world issues. The telenovela isn’t just entertainment ( though there is much of that!) but its history. To the Latin culture it is what their life revolves around! I love getting to share all that we learn and of my new love for telenovelas to my friends and family. Everyone is always so baffled that I’m taking a class on soap operas but once I explain it they are jealous they aren’t taking the class! I’m so happy that I took this class and got to now get hooked onto one more form of entertainment!