Lía’s rape by his father-in-law in the soap opera El Rostro de los Días has fueled comments in social networks these days. At her very own home, her very own room, her very own bed.
Suddenly, the subject was trending topic. And now, to make matters worse, the teenage girl is pregnant.
Cuban soap operas rarely address such a “shocking” subject. And some believe soap operas should not cope with these situations.
I strongly disagree. Soap operas may tackle any situation related to human beings. The issue is not the what, but the how.
The drama progression has been very coherent as characters are well-drawn, while the approach is carefully handled.
It was not a morbid shot with naughty and brutal realism. This shot did not betray the genre standards.
But it did (and that´s paramount) pour salt on the wound. Raping happens in real life. And when it happens, much of the time we have no clue (as in the soap opera) because of the huge amount of fear and prejudice.
El Rostro de los Días has made a point. I would love this soap opera may help in the effective and crystal-clear discussion on the impact of these sex crimes, the best way to face them, punish the offenders, and help the victims.
Silence hides, disguises, and minimizes.
I believe it is positive that people may debate on the way this soap opera addresses the subject. And lots of different opinions own reasonable arguments.
Indeed, Lia has a world of possibilities before her. First of all, she should not be ashamed. She must talk to her mother, ask for help, and reject an unwanted pregnancy. She must not submit to blackmail. She must empower herself.
There are lots of possibilities.
But the soap opera screenwriters have the right to provide their own solutions, no matter how controversial they may be. It is more important to shed light on shady areas of the context. Give reason for people to talk, in favor or against, but talk.
But the nature of the genre cannot be ignored, of course.
Soap Opera and Real Life
And we should also talk about the relation of the soap opera, in general terms, with what we call: “reality.”
Reality is a very complex fabric: as it is impossible to address it comprehensively. We must choose, organize hierarchically, and define its basis.
And that is what El Rostro de los Días has done. It is not, and should not be, a full recreation of the context. Here, the main subjects are: family, motherhood, and fatherhood.
The profoundness of the approach is another thing. To some, it may look unnatural. Aurora’s story and the abandonment of her daughter in a hospital seem quite unbelievable.
But it is our view, generally speaking, that this genre is certainly honored. Soap operas have their own codes. You cannot do journalism in a soap opera.
But must respect the screenwriters’ viewpoint. They give us a situation and its solution, not a divine, unquestionable statement. Art does not reflect, but recreates.
So we position ourselves before this recreation. We agree or disagree. But we never question the right of screenwriters the side of the reality they want to recreate.
Anyway, soap operas are allowed to play with credibility —aiming at their own logic— by paying attention to the plot authenticity.
It entertains the possibility, not the probability.
A maternity home like the one portrayed here (just to talk about another heated topic on social networks) is possible. And if not, it may and must be feasible.
Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Díaz/ CubaSí Translation Staff