I grew up watching Filipino soap operas with my grandparents. If I were to list down everything I had watched, it would probably close to one hundred. Maybe two hundred. Or maybe more than two hundred. I had lost count but if I were to exaggerate it, I had watched one million soap operas in my twenty-four years of existence. (Hahhhh! Beat me!)
I was watching a local show the other day when I thought about how soap operas greatly affect how people view relationships. The thing here is, we may or may not even be aware of what it does to us. We all hear the story of a young rich guy who falls in love with a young and economically-deprived girl. We all know the story of Romeo and Juliet where some soap operas seem to base or copy their story from. We all learn about the life of a rich girl and a rich boy whose love for someone isn’t reciprocated so they do everything, even sacrifice their wealth and morality, just to get what they want.
Whatever the story is and whoever writes it, we will always find that the conflict is always in between having conflicts in their relationships. There would always be tears, violence, abuse before there was a happy ending (if there is one).
And what does this teach us exactly? How does this affect how we act into love and how we view relationships?
It teaches us about happy-ever-afters by showing us more of the negatives. It makes us believe that we should always endure love. It teaches us that love isn’t love when there is no pain, and that we must overcome challenges first before we achieve love.
It teaches us that it is okay to chase for people who don’t love us back because eventually, those people will learn to love us back, or if not, will be forced to do so. Antagonists in soap operas always have unrequited love with the lead male or female characters, and we all know how these people never give up no matter how difficult and impossible the situations are. And through this, we see persistence. Through this, we get the notion that if we only become more persistent and motivated, everything will fall into place, and that in the end, the final laugh is on us.
Watching soap operas teach us that it is okay to feel pain, that it is okay to let someone we love step on us over and over again if it means getting their attention. It teaches us about mental and physical abuse…about dysfunctional families… about non-loving relationships. It teaches us how to view relationships the most fucked up way.
It turns us into masochists. It gives us the idea that if one isn’t feeling any pain, it isn’t love at all. We then enjoy getting hurt. We are lured into thinking that having unrequited love is fun. We are led to believe that nonmonogamous relationships are natural. We fall in love with the idea of competition — of competing with other people to win someone’s love and attention.
Love sometimes becomes chaotic and messy, but is isn’t supposed to be always difficult, like those in soap operas. Relationships aren’t supposed to make us sad, lonely and depressed. We do get our own tastes of depression and abuse because sometimes we believe it is normal and it’s okay. What’s not okay is to think that everyone must have to endure it and live with it.
Nevertheless, soap operas aren’t bad at all because somehow, someway, it shows us the realities of life. It motivates us to get what we want. It tells us that some things happen for a reason some are just really inevitable. I think it is just how we let these influence the way we see things. And they will never go away. They will always be there in our TVs, waiting to tempt us and challenge our beliefs.
Disclaimer: This is only my opinion on one aspect of soap operas and I still love watching them every now and then. It’s just that I have already learned never to believe everything I see and hear.* 😀