Not applauding the gay topic : Mexican Telenovela, communicating social learning?
Abstract: Social learning is a key element in the methodology used in the Mexican telenovela Ultimo año, and suggest that people can adopt behaviour from watching television. An important aspect of social learning are role models to identify with and/or learn their behaviour, hopefully changing their behaviour. Entertainment Education is a tool to educate through entertainment like TV shows, and are often used to teach about health issues. Mexico legalized same sex marriages in the first state only five years ago. The culture is characterized by the “macho” machisimo culture. Therefore the study aims to treat homosexual youth in Mexico. The study investigates the Mexican gay’s youth reception on the show “Ultimo año”. This show aims to reach behaviour changes concerning issues such as reproductive health, gender based violence, violence and other health related issues. The study finds that the respondents are unable to identify with the characters and events to a large extent in Ultimo año. However, they can recognize some events in the show, as well as some characteristics that are portrayed. Our study shows that homosexuality is poorly represented in the show and the characters are too wealthy to appeal to our respondents. According to our respondents the show does not reflect Mexican youth in the correct way. Respondents thought that homosexuality was portrayed in a negative way, which did not support being gay or “coming out”. The lack of identifying negative feelings of the heteronormative narrative, along with the representation of homosexuality, therefore affecting the respondents in a way the effect would be no participation in social learning. Therefor unable to achieve the behaviour change that the show is aiming towards. The study is based on one focus group and three personal interviews. The theoretical background for this study contains Stuart Halls encoding/decoding model, Albert Banduras theory about social learning, Miguel Sabido´s Methodology and previous research on reception studies by Martina Ladenorf, Thomas Tufte and Sonia Livingstone.
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