Thursday, September 8, 2011

Brazilian Novelas Educate People

"A study reveals that there is a direct correlation between the availability of the Globo TV signal and low fertility rates across Brazil." CNN

This is an old article from 2009 but I couldn't resist talking about it. Apparently Globo Novelas (soap operas) are teaching the Brazilian public about a variety of things. At first I really wanted to laugh at this. I mean, who the hell takes anything from a novela except drama drama drama?! Then I remembered how Mexico changed it's visa requirements after Brazilians started copying a character on the novela 'America' (I think it was anyway). They were entering the US via Mexico because at the time there were no visa requirements for Brazilians to enter into Mexico. And I thought I hated the line at the US consulate.

And look at this:

"Globo executive Luis Erlanger says that one episode, which featured a young girl in tears as her head is shaved in preparation for chemotherapy, prompted 23,000 bone marrow donations in the month after it first aired."

All I can say to that is Wow! I have also experienced this TV phenomenon first hand.

I carried both my boys in slings as babies. When I would walk around with my oldest in it people would stop me and exclaim that I was suffocating my child. They would tell me I was hurting him or that he was going to fall out. It got to be quite annoying as my walks would last about 5 and a half steps before I had to stop and explain how a sling works all over again.

Fast forward 2 and a half years to the birth of my second child. Shortly after his birth the sling was shown on an extremely popular Brazilian show: Fantastico. Talk about a change of heart! After that aired I was stopped just so people could look at in amazement.

They'd say things like: 'Wow! I just saw this on Fantastico!" or "That is very good for your baby, they said so on Fantastico." or "Where did you get that? My Daughters is pregnant and she saw it on Fantastico and now wants one for her baby." etc etc.

People, we have the key to Brazil here! Let's sit down all Brazilian politicians and have them watch a special novela episode where the main character cries because corruption is ruining the country she loves. They will need to make it good and heartfelt. And if this study is correct then we should be good.

While they're at it maybe Fantastico should do a piece on how Maracana won't ever be finished if there aren't any workers.  The show could suggest that maybe they should raise the bar a bit when it comes to work conditions. I don't know about you but I'm guessing that if stuff is blowing up than things could improve. Just saying...

Do you watch any of the novelas or Fantastico? What have you learned from them? 


  1. Honestly, I have watched some novelas, mainly to listen to Portuguese. However, there is no translation for DRAMA!!!:) Really, there should be ones about corruption and lack of workers. Perhaps that would influence the government??? Now there is a thought!:) You raise very good points.

  2. Clever idea Rachel. I like it. I would like to add a setting that includes a Frontier town with 100% paved roads and some landscaping.

  3. "Let's sit down all Brazilian politicians and have them watch a special novela episode where the main character cries because corruption is ruining the country she loves."

    They have done that already. Senator Roberto "Caxias" at Rei do Gado. Didn't really work. Either politicians don't watch enough soaps or greed is sentimentality-proof.

  4. There's an article about this in this month's National Geographic.

  5. I was just going to mention the National Geographic article! It's really interesting, and maybe it brings up some new points from the study in 2009. Fascinating!

  6. Something about Brazil that has always been strange to me is the super low fertility rate (relatively) for a so called "developing country." Developing countries usually have birth rates of like 15 children per woman.

    They say Brazil's population may peak at around 210 million, not too far from what it is today. Not a bad thing at all!

  7. Love this one! You crack me up. I've never watched any, though I've busted my husband landing on 19 sometimes in the evenings. And today in a taxi, the driver was very much involved with whatever Novela it was he was watching on his little taxi t.v. I think I get in the loop on some of this stuff whenever I visit the salon to have nails or hair done. The women are always talking about some novela thing, and Quem and Caras are good for that too.

  8. If you watch closely, the novelas are ALWAYS pushing social messages: preventing breeding spots for denge-carrying mosquitoes, eating fresh produce, protecting your skin at the beach -- it's pretty constant.

  9. "Really, there should be ones about corruption."
    There are plenty! Vale Tudo is the biggest one I can think of. It was recently reaired on cable and it seemed like everyone was watching it.