Ep. 44: Deconstructing Mariposa de Barrio with Bernice
Today, Dr. Renee and Dr. Cristina sit down with their good friend and former student Bernice to discuss Mariposa de Barrio, the telenovela based on the life of Jenni Rivera.
One of the most striking parts of Jenni’s story is the fact that she built a career in a man’s industry. She is a true trailblazer who single-handedly made other women who are fans of Banda—a male-dominated music genre—feel validated.
There is a surprising amount of domestic and sexual violence depicted in the telenovela, without trigger warnings nor a narrative that outright condemns these scenes. Our hosts dissect this concerning direction the show takes by touching on old-fashioned family dynamics, addressing the behavior of the male and female characters in particular.
Jenni Rivera’s public image projects confidence and total dominance, yet, as Mariposa de Barrio shows, behind closed doors she constantly struggled to find her voice even in her personal life. She was regularly silenced and forced to feel minimized, and found true liberation whenever she was onstage. Yet, as our hosts know, Jenni experienced a lot of joy in her life as well. They bemoan the “tragedy porn” that the show seems to glorify.
Finally, our hosts urge against the normalization and, worse, the romanticization of the many depictions of toxic relationships which rear their heads in the show.
From the normalization of machismo to women marrying for survival, Mariposa de Barrio illustrates—in 91 episodes—that the patriarchy is alive and well. But our saving grace and hope for a better future rests in having conversations that highlight these common yet often-overlooked issues in our own lives. Through the example of great women like Jenni Rivera, we can take those first steps to creating a more equal society that we’ll have full confidence letting our kids grow up in.
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