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Allyson Voerg Professor Boan SPA 399 14 April 2021 Netflix and Critical Theory: Las chicas del cable Las chicas del cable stands as the first Spanish original production of the streaming service Netflix , having been added to the platform in 2017 . As a period drama, the narrative follows four women of the 1920s who work as switchboard operators for a telecommunications company in Madrid, Spain. The show has gained notoriety not on Spanish production, but for its parallel to modern feminism as well. Each woman uniquely struggles with the traditional, patriarchal expectations placed on them, and as they each work to achieve their own independence and freedom, they actively begin to challenge these imposed gender norms. Despite its positive reviews, the show works more to portray the relevance of its themes to the modern day than in ensuring it is historically accurate. I ntegral aspects of Las chicas del cable such as the modern music chosen, the wardrobes of the working class women, the character develo pment, and the title all not only undermine its authenticity of depicting a historical time perio d but weaken its feminist message as well . One of the most glaring issue s of this period piece is the soundtrack. Not only is the music backing t he scenes m odern in sound, but the son gs with words are in English as well. As the series is set in Spain, a rich amount of m usic and music tra ditions cou ld have been drawn upon and utili zed for its sc enes. For i nstance, one of the most prominent m usical genres that still remains strong in popula rity today is f l amenco . As Matthew Machin Autenrieth points out ,
Voerg 2 flamenco remains o ne o f t he most prominent symbols of regional identity in A ndalusia, Spain , a southern region of Spain ( 4). Flamenco reflects an integral part of much of Spai n s his tory, even so far as to st and for part of some regions identity . It is important to note , as Machin Autenrieth does in his own work, that flamenco develop ed mainly in the region of A ndalusia, despite its correlation to much of the country of Spain as a whole . He notes how flamenco is often correlated with Spanish ster eotypes mo re generally ( particularly outside Spain) ( Machin Autenrieth 10). As such as key identifier of Andalusia in particular, its i nfl uence sti ll spread across much of Spain, resulting i n this stereotyping . The music of flamenco reflects the history of interaction between different cultures that contributed to its own making . It serves as an arte vivo , a livi ng art , that is thus reflective of the experiences of many of the cultures within Spain ( Heredia Carroza, JesÃºs, et al. 3 ) . The beginning of the twentieth century s aw a preservation of this m usical tradition as its in teg rity began to become lost, as Machin Autenrieth writes how Spanish composer Manuel de Falla and Spanish poet F e derico Gar c Ãa Lorca both t ried to achieve th is revivial of traditional f l amenco ( 11). Fall a and Lorca s work in the early tw enti eth century co inci des with the time when Las chi cas del cable ta kes place , in 1928. However, not a trace of infl uence of flamenco can be reco gni zed in the music chosen to back the series. As traditional flamenco was not accompanie d by singing, it would have served well as background music for scenes with dialogue , or at the very least as in fl uenc e on what songs would be chosen. An abundance of music from fla menco artists is at the creator s disposal from the Spanish Romani flamenco singer CamarÃ³n de la Isla to S p anish virtuoso flamenco guita rist Paco de LucÃa , or the Spanish gypsy guitar player Raimundo A mador and yet , they d ecided to include none of it . As Machin Autenrieth points out , music has a close connection
Voerg 3 with place and a powerful role in the con struction of place based identities ( 6). W hile f lamenco has a closer bond with Andalusia specifically than with Spain as a whole, Las chicas del cable should not have passed on the opportunity to u se the background m usic to help c onstruct the seri es id entity as a show about Spa in in the 1920s . In passing on this opp ortunity, the series attempted to try and situate itself more in the present day and amongst a wider, m ore i nternat ional audi ence. Considering an international scope wi thin the time period, the 1920s, would have been a reasonable course of action as well . The Jazz Age was in full s wing in the Unite d States during the 20 s, and its influence stretched far beyond the country. A l on g with the music itself, it was during the 1920s that play entered a new territory , a nd the Jazz movem ent emphasized both self expression and self indulgence ( Appelrouth 1 499 ). This idea is in ta ndem with the type of leisure and free dom the women of Las chicas del cable str ive fo r , so including music of this a ge o r songs that d raw inspiration from t he j azz music genre wou ld have subtly reflect ed the dream of the main character s. Appelrouth goe s o n to argue that ear ly jazz re presented a threat to the legitimac y of prevailing behavioral and cultural codes, just as the main characters of the series are try i ng to pu sh back against the estab lish ed soci etal norms of the time that women were not meant to work but to serve the house and the husb and and children who reside in it ( 1500). However, such a correlation is not present in Las chicas del cable , as the music included seems to have no jazz elements to it, let alone any jazz songs at all. There is a scene , within the first season, where the main characters attend a party a t the company , and t he women dancing onst age have an uncanny resem blance to the f lappers of Western society in the 20s ( 29:36). The dancers are wearing sparkl ing b lack dresses that are low cut, right above their kn ees, with short hair and feathers tucked with in the strands. Instead of the
Voerg 4 jazz music that flappers would have listened a nd danced to at the time, the song Good Life by Sweet C al ifornia plays . While S weet Cal ifornia is a Spanish band, the po p song is performed in En glish and wa s released in 2016 , with no c onnection to jazz whatso ever. The scene feels more like a n Ame rican middle school dance than a party in the 20s. W hile the band s audience may stre tch internationally, this series attempt to do th e same only results in the va lid ity of the s cene being under mine d . The dancers in the scene do not even appear to be dancing to the r hythm of the song pla ying, which only further highlights the disconnection between the music and the series. In addition to an interna tional audience , Las chicas del cable also attempt s to situate itself within a modern day audience using the tit le track as a means of displ aying this modernity. However , while the series means to appeal to today s audience, it does so at the e xp ense of the authenticity of the narrative to the ethnicity being portrayed. The theme song of the series is Salt by B. Miles, for the first tw o season s, and the shorte ned main title for the remaining seasons is composed and produced by Mauri cio Ribeiro . E ven when watc hin g the series in the original S p anish wi th English subtitles , the lyric s of both intros are sun g in E ngl ish. This in and of itself, even cons idered in tandem with the lack of influence from authentic music of the 20s ( in Spain or elsewhere), is not inherent ly detrimenta l to the show. The theme is relatively catchy with a sultry nature that is reminiscent of some asp ects of the show , and it speaks to the international scope of the a udience in a way . However, it is worth consi dering how texted music in English operates as such an inte gral piece of the show, as the main title can arguabl y situat e an important e motion or idea within the narrative as a whole when done well. Em aeyak Peter Sylvanus stu died t he effects of texted music in performing ethnicity in Nolly wood film mus ic, but their findings can be applied to Las chicas del cable as well.
Voerg 5 S yl vanus a rgues that the persistent use of texted music (i.e. music with words) alongside certain musical forms and even instruments and /or instrument ation influences the values that shape ethnicity in Nollywood film (94). The music of the series that has words, as defined by the title song, are all in E n glish, thus elici ting a persist ent portrayal of the American asp ect of Netflix Spain, being that Netflix is an American production company. T wo of the most fundamental a s pects of ethnicit y are identity and culture, and both m usic and language are cons tituents of those building blocks ( Sylvanus 94). If this holds t rue, th e n the English language used in the theme song and elsewhere in the show, along with the mod ern m usic, mis represe nts the tru e ethnicity being portrayed here. Although, for instance, Alba is living in New York at the start of the first part of Season 5, she is still a native Spaniard , having bee n born in Spain along with t he other mai n women of t he series. Had the texted music been in Spanish, the ly rics and tunes could have served the purpose of singing the film , as Sylvanus defines as implying the use of texted m usic to either narrate or foresha dow the storylines of film (96). As the songs are already str ategically place d th ro ughout the serie s either ahead of pivotal sc enes o r amidst them, such as the son g accompan ying the women taking the test to app ly for positions at the company in the first season (which prefaces Alba s more direct approach to be accepted for the position), they c ould have been more in trinsically linke d to these scen es . Texted music in Spanish would not only have more effect ively ( and truthfully) performed the ethnicity of the wo men, but it would have better served the narrative as a wh o le, more actively participating in the story te lling process by narrating or foreshad owing . Music is often overlooked in terms of its capacity to contribute to a narrative, when in reality it has t he potential to even affect the audience As Appelrouth points out , music has the capa city to move liste ners both litera l ly and figu ratively by evoking physical ,
Voerg 6 emotional, and intellectual responses to its sounds , and Las chicas del cable neglec ted this c apac ity and in turn , surrendered a strength that the narrative would have greatly benefit ted f rom (1 496). A German study was conducted to investigate the effects of slow motion in film on the s perception of time, as well as t heir emotional response, and a significant influence was found regar ding the pr esence o f music . It had previous ly been found that music has an impact on the perception of time , as it provides additional information which results in longer estimations of time ( WÃ¶llner, Clemens, et al. 2). Additionally, there is a consensus among res earchers that music can indeed induce em otions rather than only convey emotional states that people may recognize , giving em otional music the ability to cause tangi ble psychophysiological responses in members of the a udience ( WÃ¶llner, Clemens, et al. 3). This was the intention of the series, for example, i n including background mus ic in an early scene when Alba s friend , G imena, is killed. Within the first f ew minutes of episode one of the first s eason, the main cha racter Alba runs toward Gime na s armed husband , who inst inctively sho ots and kills Gimena (03:15). As she dies in Alba s arms, modern background music begin s to play , rea ching its cres cendo when her head falls, signaling her death. Not only do es th is music feel unnatural given the setting of the 20s and Spain that was established just minutes before , but it feels dising enuous ; it has a fai r ly quick tempo, and though this is accompanied by more solemn strings in the backg round, th e r hythm of the tempo takes precedence in the foreg round of the song . It clash es with Alba s sobs as she cries over the loss of her friend and takes some of the sadness out of the scene. The music cou ld have in d uced more of Alba s sadness in the audience, causing viewers to actually feel t h e w eight of her friend s death and may be even sh ed some tears themselves . The s cene itself is short as well not long er than two or so minutes in total when it h ad the oppo rtunity to reflect
Voerg 7 the heartbreaking reality of women who disobey ed their husbands at the time, and just how tightly they held their grip on them. Music has been prov en to be an effective means of nonverbal communication, but not just songs with a hig h amount of familia rity; music un known by the audience has been proven to be an emotionalizing carr ier of meaning in film as well (Herget 3). Since the song used in th is scene did no t resonate with the informati on being presented in this scene, it likely co nveyed a diffe rent message with its tone. Information is processed in the brain through different schemata, with a s pecific schema controlling attentio n and p erception, and background music has been found to have the potential to activ ate schemata that shap e the processing of infor mation (Herget 2). This has been clear in background music that the audience is familiar with, but in th e ca se of Las chicas del cable , the background music is not popular o r well known. But this is not where t he show falls short , as unknown music can still activate the sam e schemata through a specific kind of sem antic memory (Herge t 3) . Thus, it is not the unkn own aspe ct of the background music that causes it to fall flat, but the music chosen in general. Slower music, for e xam ple , m ay have m ore effectively communicated the sad ness of the scene a nd made it fee l more real by allowing for a more efficient process ing of information and activation of sc hemata . It would have given more emoti onal w eigh t to the sc ene, and t his weight is what is m issing from so many of the supplem ental sc enes of the series , as a genuine con nection to the experiences of the women during th at time is ab andoned in favor of dramatic eff ect . T he music feels thrown in as an afterthought, with little intention or connection to the narrative, the emotion s being expresse d in the scene s, or the time period o f the whole series . Thus, musical auth enticity to the time period , as well a s any resonance to the culture and ideas
Voerg 8 associated with that authe nticity , are lost in this series , and as a result a key understanding of the series i tself is lost on the aud ience. A less jarring and c lear issue than the music of Las chicas del cable is the wardrobes of the main characters . At first glance, t he four women appear not unlike how a woman of the 1920s would look bob ha irstyle s ( though a bit longer as 1928 was towards the end of the decade) , kne e leng th dresses, and often some form of a cloche hat on their head . Th eir outfits seem to be a refl ection of the modern female war drobe at the time; with the first World War having just ended, women s fashion around the world mov ed to ward s simplicity and conveniency in the 20s . J ayne Shr impton , a dress historian , hi ghlights how t his was achieved through the progressive simplification of dress as the dec ade advanced a rejection of formality and multiple layers, in favour of comf ort and a lighter, more nat ural effect (Shrim pton 1 3 1 4). The dresses of the women in Las chicas de l cable follow with this trend, but to an extent. Simplicity in the wardrobes was accompanied by decoration such as beadwork when it came to evening wear, and the characters outfits reflected this as well when they for instance attended the company party at the beginning of season 1. However, these dresses oft en lea ned to wards more shapeless silhou ettes , which were believed to look best on thinner, less curvy bod ies, and this is why women in turn tried to achieve this bod y type. This is the first area that Las ch icas del cable begins to de viate in. For example, t he dres ses of the main charac ters are sometimes cinched tightl y at the waist to accentuate the women s c u r ves , and the v necklines are often cut a bit lower to b e more revealing , which both go against the sha p eless design that was so prevalent dur ing the time. The larger aspect that the show deviates from as it progresses is the relationship between these ward robes a nd class. The simple and convenient aspects of women s clothing in the 20s
Voerg 9 was eas y to repli cate, so the style was not limited to just those who could afford designer design s. Anyone, from working c lass to higher clas s , could access and take part in th is trend, as dress is now no sign of social status (Forest er 62). Each of the four main wo men , Alba, Marga, Carlota, and Ãngeles , are established as being from working class backgrounds, e xcept perhaps for Carlota , whose parents are ins in uated to b e higher class financially . T hus, it is believable for the four of them to be wearing the dresses that they are. However, it is the freque ncy at which they change outfits that is a clear indication of a n inauthe ntic depiction of their class. Besides their norm al blue work uniform, the women are rarely shown wearing the same outfit twice. As working class women, they likely wo uld have bee n unable to afford so many outfits . S uch a wide range of dresses, hats, and sho es is more reflective of a higher class woman who is rich enough to finance such a n extensive wardrobe. Not only is this inaccurate to the time period, but this wrongly portr ays the characters as well. Seeing the characters in s o many different and elaborate outfits throughout each season will p erp etuate the idea that they are higher in class than they actually are , resulting in the audience s perception sh ifting to accommodate for such and causing the narrative to s uffer a s well. Additionally, though the you ng generation of women who were flappers wore knee length dresses , which was short and rather reb ellious for the 20s, a prominent ideology of the time was bod ily modesty. T his societal idea of bodily m odesty ormi dable limits on women daily m ovements in home, work or leisure ( Folguera 55) . Young women were expected to dress modestly , in addition to acting as such as well , w hen out in public and even at home. S ome of the outfits of the wo men in the s ho w, such as A l ba cut red dress that she wears when sh e secures a job at the company, are only meant to be alluring t o the male char acters . In 1928, her outfit may not have been rec e ived positively , as it challenges the
Voerg 10 predominant ideology of women However, t his actually speaks well to who Alba is as a charac ter; she is a headstrong lead to the series who the o ther women join in pushing for what they believe in, as for example advocating for not integrat ing new technology in order to keep t he ir jo bs at the company secure. It is no t the ch ar acters themselves who are problematic to the feminist message, but ra ther, their portray al. A lba could have easily been portray ed as havin g worn the red dress as a personal choice, but from the minute that the manager C arlos step s foot in the room, it is clear that Alba s educe him , as he has both the keys to the vault and th e final say as to w ho w ould be accepted for the job . As Alba skil ls are centered on lying and manipulati on, this c ould have been an opportunity to have a fema le sexual display serve as a rebellion against the societal ideal of modesty . So often the film industry becomes of women , and Las chicas del cable does not esca pe t his ( Goo p tu 369). In this scene, Alba is fig ured as an object of the ma le gaz e ( coined by L aura Mulvey to mean the typical ma le heterosexual gaze often in tandem with the sexualization and objectification of women ) , more so than as a figure for autonomous femini nity, which underscores the feminist message of the series ( Gooptu 370) . Rather than focusing on infiltrating the comp any, she moves to g o through Carlos imme di ately through f l irtation, which makes sense given her background and desperation to f ulfill what is required of her . Howe ver, the flirti ng only feel s exaggerated. When Carlos first walks past her w hile addressing the group of women, Alba strategically drops her pencil behind him , to which he picks it up for her. T he camera follows Carlos, the man, as he bends down to pick up the pencil, and pauses for a beat as he glances at her waist ( Campos and Neira 11:32 38) . There are not only th ese camera movements coordinated with the male characters movements, but linge r ing shots
Voerg 11 on t he vario us parts o f the female body , which both serve to illustrate how th is series had all ma le directors . The ma le gaze , in feminist theory, tends to be replicated through camera angles and editing , as the way the camera moves often simulates the way men might look a par ticularly attractive wom an up and do wn and hove r or pau se on her par ticular ly erogenous zones ( Meluso 25). In this example, the camera lingers on Alba s exposed shin, and later when she sits in Carlos office , it foc uses on her fingers fidgeting wit h the hem of her dress , both of which illustrate this simulation . T hes e ty pes of shots fur ther remove the f emale character from personhood and c ement her solely as a n object f or consumption ( Meluso 26). Though Alba is trying to achieve her freedom for herself, it is clear in the series, and du ring the time period, that this freedom would have to come from a man by e ither marr ying or seducing him . The ma le gaze translates through action and role , and t hroughout history , women usually were not able to play a role in a film s plot , which seemed to be where L as chicas del cable was so ground br eaking ( Meluso 26). However, the plo t seems to be furthered in many instances by the men, as if Carlos had not been attracted to Alba, he would not hav e giv e n her a job and her way in to the company would have been lost sinc e she failed the tests . T h is is reflected in the first establishing shot of Carlos in the aforemen tio ned scene , wh ich is a n up ward ti lt, as the camera moving in thi s upward direction signifies him a s being in a position of power and superiority over Alba, who sits opposit e him. It is cle ar tha t the seduction of men and dra matic effect is valued mo re here than the portrayal of an independent woman and an accurate depiction of history. As seen with Alba, t he wardrobe is not the only asp ect of the s how that results in the narrative suffering , as the cha racter development leaves much to be desired in te rms of strengthenin g the feminis t message underly ing the s eries. In the very first episode of its first season, t he series opens with the indication that women were seen as a dornos , meaning
Voerg 12 ornaments or decorations. Quite liter ally this is equating women to inanimate objects of little to no use out side of their appearance . As the main character Alba narrates f or the audience, women were accessories to be shown off and objects unable to express an opinion or make a decision (0:08 0:2 2). Despite appearing to be setting up a narrative of wo men working against this de hum anization, of taking back their freedom and th us their humanity and right to think , speak , and act for themselves, Las chicas del cable still portrays some of its female characters in the context of the men surrounding th em, rather than as their own indiv iduals . From the start of the show, Alba is established as be ing between two men: Fran cis co, her childhood love whom she got separated from in youth, and C a rlos , the man who stands between her an d the company vault. Alba, as the central female character whom the two men lu st for , is e st ablished as the object of desire for the male ch aracter(s) (Smelik 491). This is not unlike the tra ditional model of a tele novel a . There is often a main he terosexual couple navigating challenges in order to be to gether, with most of them produced by the dramatic pre sence of triangles two men in love with the same w oman ( A costa Alzuru 271). As is the prevalent issue o f Las chicas del cable ; wh o is Alba trul y in love with? A t times , this tak es precedence o ver the driving for ce of the plot: achieving freedom , and it reflec ts Ant onio Gramsci s con cept of hege mony, as applied by Carolina Acosta Alzuru to te l e novelas . Gramsci defined hegemony as being the cultural, moral, and ideological dominance of one group over others, and A costa Al zuru notes how in terms o f fem inist media studies, t he conditions of representation have changed as the dominant m edia take up certain ideas about feminism, gender, women and men, (270) . There have co me to be predominant ideologies regardi ng the role o f women and the portrayal of relationsh ips in film, such as the notion of the love that is illu strated in Las chicas del cable . The woman is often placed between the
Voerg 13 affections of two men, of whom she mu st choose one o r the other, and sacrifice something in the pro cess . B onnie Dow s analysis of the The Mary T yler Moore Show serves as a n additional r e flection of feminism as a threat to hegemony at work in film , a nd s he writes how Mary s indepe ndence is consistently compromised by her submission to oth ers needs she is slotted into familiar roles and relationships that assure the audience that little has really changed ( Acosta Alzuru 273). Alba unfortu nately receives much the same treatment . While sh e ac tively works to a chieve her own freedom from conviction , helping the othe r women as they work toward their own res pective freedom s in the process , her freedom consistently becomes eva luated in terms of worth next to the presence of Ca rlos and Francis co in her life . When she sec ures the job at the company and reali zes Franci sco works there, she frantically calls Inspector BeltrÃ¡n saying she cannot complete the heist , w hich would prevent her from secur ing her freedom . T his brief run in with a man nearly der ails her journey to freedo m entirely , and it does not st op there she constantly is torn between her freedom and th e two men, not to mention being pulled between the two of the men themselves as well. Her plans are constantly being disrupted by her attraction to them , such as prote c ting F rancis co s life fr om being dest royed when Inspector BeltrÃ¡n blackmails he r yet a gain , and the hegemonic tr opes keep piling up; Carlos c hanges from a womanizer to being sw eet and sensitive , the long lost lov e Francisco be gins revealing more toxic traits such as blackmailing Alba, and Franci s c o l ies t o A lba s face a nd then tells her he cannot st op thinking ab out her. As a result, both Alba and Francis co fall into roles of the clas sic fil m nar rative. In order to satisfy the woman s guilt of th e narrative , two tra ditional endings [are] made available to women : she must either die or marry , w ith A l ba doing the latter as she accept s Carlos proposal (Smelik 492). Fran cisco , as he gets the
Voerg 14 ph ot ographs back from Inspector BeltrÃ¡n that w ere being used to b lackmail A l ba, ess entiall y free s her, making him a representation of the more perfect , more complete, more powerf ul ideal ego of the male hero ( Smelik 491). Th e ser ies aligns more closely with clichÃ© than with a female forward p iece, as the attention necessary to ensure the characters are developed realistically and thoroughly was simply not taken. Alba s develop ment , and in turn the character development of the series as a whole, is where Las chicas del cable weakens its own feminist message by falling prey to the stereot yp es so much of film is wrought with . The series seems to lack a connection, in the context of the development o f its characters, with modern feminism , and this is clear in i ts title . With movements such a s the Wo men s March and #MeT oo, feminism today has a global reach , as women inter nationally have recognized t he familiarity in each other s struggles . The International Women s Strike on March 8, 2018, had a massive and unprecedented impac t in Spain , with almost 5.5 million women supporting it and another 3 million in attendance at th e rallies ( O. Abri sketa an d M. Abri sketa 931 ) . Pu blic expression s of femin ism have only g rown in Spain since then, as the solidarity among women has penetrated the movement and flourishes through social networks a nd public demonstrations, gen erating a grea t flow of both protest and so lidarity messages ( O. Abri sketa an d M. Abri sketa 931 ) . Why , then, would the series slip up wit h the ti tle ? Girl and w oman are used inter c hangeably at the colloquial level to refer to someone of th e fem ale gender. A w oman refers more often to an adult fema le, while girl denot es a young fe male . H o wever, in modern discourse, girl has come to take on a neg ative connot ation, lik ening the female to be, though youthful, immature or docile. Woman, in contrast, reflects the matur ity and contr ol that an adult female usually has, and it shows respect when a female is referred to a s such. Conse quently, calling a fem ale who is c learly a n adult a g irl can be ta ken
Voerg 15 offensively . Girl is often t hrow n around as an insult, from as early as element ar y school on t he playground all the way to the office when adults enter the workfo rce, even being deemed as a microa ggress ion (Miller ). There ar e countless online discussions regarding the topic, how some see being called a woman as a sign of respect, while others do not really min d how they are referred to . But in the context of trying to appea l to modern feminis m, Las chicas de l cable should h ave considered the implications of not calling its adult cha racters women . I t comes across as a lack of respe ct akin to h ow they would have been treated by their male co wor kers : as in ferior , for being younger, less mature, and most notabl y, fe ma le, along with being docile enough f or the m to contro l. A historical inaccuracy also lies within the title Cable . Though it was likely included in order to , a gain, at tempt to appeal to modernity and today s audience , it is simply incorrect. The women of the show work as switchboard operators at the National Telep hone Company . Telephone switchboar ds connects circuits b etween telephones in order to connect calls, establishing necessary connections between people. C ab le , as most people understand it in the modern day, has to do w ith over the air television signal s. Thus, not telephones, no r connecting cal ls, and it worth noting as wel l that this type of c a ble was not developed until the late 40s , much later than 1928. Not all is lost, though: i n terms of feminism in the 20s , there see ms to be some resonation th ere . Erin Holliday Karre points out how with suffrage won, the spe cific aims of feminism beca me unclear, as the 19 th Amend ment was ratified in 1920 in the United St ates , gra nting women the right to vote (323) . English writer Virginia Wool f wrote of how feminism was dead at that point, an d the general consensus and d iscourse o f t he time conceived , s pec ifically A m erican , women as superficial f lappers more conc erned with fashion, drinking, and jazz than
Voerg 16 with issues of equality (Holliday Kar re 323 ). A s World War I ha d just d ra wn to a cl ose , however , the war had changed the relationship between men and women, as many women had parti cipated in the w ar and fo ught for their co untry. A resurgence of work debat ing the truth of the pre vailing consensus had beg un since 1998, but it still remains that the influence of women sexual reformers was so short lived , that not much work relays their influence in detail (H olliday Karre 324) . However, t here was more social justice reform p revalent , with women s organization s of the middle and working class rising , and ev en the social j ustice feminism mo vement con t inuing f rom its start in the 19 th century (McGuire 225). The se organizations pushed for l a bor legislation , mov ing from the court to the s tate level, and legislation to protect working women and to abolish child labor especially reflected the social feminist orientation ( Lemons 85). It wou ld make sense, then, for the women of Las chicas del cable to be so adamant about keeping t heir jobs an d pro te cting their right to work. Unfortunately, t his historically beli e vable aspect fails to compensate for the other feminist aspects of the show. While Las chicas del cable is widely reviewed positively as a reflection of modern feminism and is enjoyed by many, it is worth considering its flaws in order to understand how period dramas can operate as a nod to history, or a means of commer cial gain. The very aspects that draw in its audience , such as the modern music used or the elaborate wardrobes of the Ultimately, as Anne ke Smelik poin ts out in Feminist Film Theory, there has been a n important theoretica l shift from an understanding of cine ma as reflecting re ality, to a vie w of cinema as construct ing a particular , ideological, view of reality (491). The experiences of the women in Las chicas del cable res onat ed with so many who watche d it, which is why it has been so widely regarded as paralleling feminist idea s of today. But in attem pting to connect with both the past and the
Voerg 17 present, the series gets stuck somewhere in between, with trying to reflect the reality of these women while appealing to the modern ideology of feminism. What results is a n enter taining but inauthentic construction of the fact that women face many restr ictions in their li ves , both in the 1920s and toda y, and a watered down decl aration that they are wor thy and deser ving of the same freedoms as men.
Voerg 18 Works Cited Abrisketa, Olatz G., and Marian G. Abr Sisterhood as Public Feminism in Spain." Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 45.4 (2020): 931 953. Acosta Alzuru, Carolina. "" I'm Not a Feminist... I Only Defend Women as Human Beings": The Production, Representation, and Consumption of Feminism in a Telenovela." Critical Studies in Media Communication 20.3 (2003): 269 294. American Behavioral Scientist , vol. 48, no . 11, July 2005, pp. 1496 1509. EBSCOhost , doi:10.1177/0002764205276618. Campos, RamÃ³n and Neira, Gema R ., creators. Las chicas del cable . Netfli x and BambÃº Producciones , 2017 . Netflix, https://www.netflix.com/title/80100929 . Oral History , vol. 13, no. 2, 1985, pp. 49 56. JSTOR , www.jstor.org/stable/40178868. Accessed 22 Mar. 2021. Forest er, Hon. Mrs. C. W. (formerly Mrs. Eric Pritchard). Success Through Dress . London, Duckwort h, 1925. South Asian History & Culture , vol. 10, no. 4, Oct. 2019, pp. 369 379. EBSCOhost , doi:10.1080/19472498.2019.1694623.
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Voerg 20 Cinematic Univ LOGOS: A Journal of Undergraduate Research , vol. 13, Fall 2020, pp. 22 39. EBSCOhost , search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db= a9h&AN= 147397356&site=ehost live&scope=site. Microaggressions like Being Called 'Girl' at Wo rk The Seattle Times , The Seattle Times Company, 6 June 2019, www.seattletimes.com/explore/ careers/dealing with microaggressions like being called girl at work/. Shrimpton, Jayne . Fashion in the 1920s . Shire, 2014. Smelik, Anneke. "F eminist film theory." The Wiley Blackwell encyclopedia of gender and sexuality studies (2016): 1 5. lm Music: The Power of Journal of the Musical Arts in Africa , vol. 15, no. 1/2, Dec. 2018, pp. 93 109. EBSCOhost , doi:10.2989/18121004.2018.1534338. s and Video Clips: Music Influences Perceived PLoS ONE , vol. 13, no. 6, June 2018, pp. 1 16. EBSCOhost , doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0199161.