24 | MAR | 2019
Streaming platforms portray sugar-coated version of Mexico
When reflecting upon this type of content, film critic José Antonio Valdés assured that “there is a complete disparity with the reality that Mexicans live every day" - Photo: Taken from Netflix's official YouTube account

Streaming platforms portray sugar-coated version of Mexico

Mexico City
-A +A
Netflix productions in Mexico look very nice on the outside, but often overlook poverty and crime

The rise of Netflix and other streaming platforms have boosted Mexican productions. Both in Mexico and abroad, productions such as The House of Flowers are proof of the country’s potential regarding television. However, these stories seem to stand in contrast to some of Mexico’s most painful realities such as an overwhelming extreme poverty rate.

The life of indigenous communities is hardly ever represented in these productions if not featuring servants or maids working for rich, white Mexicans, all of which endorses and normalizes a huge gap between what people see on television and what is actually happening around them, according to experts consulted.

When viewers watch the reality show “Made in Mexico,” the bio-series of Luis Miguel, or the aforementioned melodrama “The House of Flowers,” they are faced with a sugar-coated version of Mexican society. A version in which the so-called “mirreyes” –white Mexicans from the upper-middle class who have a taste for luxury- are the protagonists of frivolous plots.

When reflecting upon this type of content, film critic José Antonio Valdés assured that “there is a complete disparity with the reality that Mexicans live every day.”

“For years, Mexican television has been accused of misrepresenting reality and dumbing down audiences. I find it surprising that Netflix is now using the same strategy of addressing inequality in a mundane fashion,” claimed the film appreciation expert from the Ibero-American University.

Although the aesthetic proposals and production are more than satisfactory, the content of these shows is still very poor.

For his part, Arturo Guillemaud, professor of Communication Theory at UNAM’s Political Science Faculty, explained that online audiences were very different from traditional ones and there are many Mexicans who still watch national channels such as TV Azteca and Televisa.

The scholar commented that national television channels are aimed at the working class, while Netflix productions are made to appeal to middle and high-class millennials who identify with or aspire to become the stereotypes portrayed in these TV series.

“What are these shows not showing? A country that is more politically divided than ever, an education system that doesn’t work, a political class that is shameful to most of us watching them act out through mass media,” claimed the cinema and television investigator. “There is also no sign of indigenous cultures, nor a vision committed to the subject of poverty.”

A reality that has been broadly and repeatedly portrayed is drug trafficking in Mexico and the rest of Latin America. However, the way productions such as “El Chapo” or “El Señor de los Cielos” address the issue is completely naive and trivial, according to the professor from the University Center for Cinematographic Studies (CUEC).

“The way these shows portray drug dealers is more similar to the wealthy gangster stereotype or the super-hero outlaw; a type of character that exudes sex appeal,” stated Valdés.

On the other hand, Guillemaud considers that these television shows set a bad example for young people in Mexico. “The narrative of these series is that, if you decide to live a life of crime and become a drug dealer, you will live a fun and wild life.”

Experts agree that one of the reasons for this apparent delusion is the enormous amount of television content that Mexico has purchased from the United States in the last decades, which the country ends up trying to reproduce. “It is as if we want to pretend to be something we are not,” concluded Guillemaud.


Mantente al día con el boletín de El Universal