Luis Angel Reglero |
Madrid (EFE) more diverse social
“That’s why I became an actress, because I want to dream, for example, of being an astronaut, an emergency doctor, the president of a country, the protagonist of history,” Franco-Venezuelan Arlette Torres told EFE in Madrid.
Hers is one of the voices that are reflected in a study by the Association of Women Filmmakers and Audiovisual Media (CIMA) on how these prejudices are transferred to film and television screens in Spain, where the roles that remain for them are those of a drug addict or prostitute, far from the reality of the most plural street.
Educate from the screen
“They are proud to have done them, because they are part of society, but I want to do other things,” says Torres, who was born in Caracas and has lived in Spain for almost two decades.
“We can represent them, because they exist, but they are not the only ones that exist” these marginal roles, and “even though we are immigrants, we are part of Spanish society”, more diverse than what is conveyed to the viewer, he insists.
The actress of films such as “La tribu” in Spain or “Liz in September” in Venezuela warns that “a lot of work is done from stereotypes”, when the audiovisual media should “educate those who are entertaining, but it seems that sometimes they they forget that fundamental role to make true representations of a society”.
“Everything that is represented in the media hits the viewer”, but if what is transmitted is an image of a caretaker or prostitute, “what is the message to society”, asks who has worked on series like “El secreto of Old Bridge” or “HIT”.
Torres, also a model and journalist, is “excited, because it should be natural” also in Spain, that in other countries like France or the United States “there is more diversity and inclusion of characters, who not only reflect a single social stratum, but migrants and racialized people also occupy main characters”.
From little Latino to exotic
The report shows that in Spain there are few roles for “racialized” actresses, although within them the majority are Latinas.
“Migrant and/or Racialized Women in the Spanish Audiovisual” reveals that these almost always secondary and stereotyped roles barely reflect the reality of many migrants integrated into the country with very different jobs.
From the casting, in which a certain skin color or speech accent is requested, these actresses are directed to roles that associate Colombians with drug trafficking or Argentines with temperamental characters, or they are rejected because their appearance seems “not very Latino ” by being “tall and pretty”, with an exotic vision that simplifies her presence on the screen.
In order to contribute to greater diversity, which ends with that image of low social status or even marginality, CIMA proposes recommendations for equal access to audiovisual works, including technical positions, “where there is a lack of both gender and origin”, and managers, because “the way to change the situation must be from high positions”.
The study by researchers from the University of Salamanca (Spain) María Marcos Ramos and Beatriz González de Garay collects testimonies from nearly fifty of these actresses, although some anonymously for fear of being identified as problematic in their work.
Arlette Torres does get wet before this panorama of clichés that limit the Latin actress to those roles: “if we don’t move, where are we going? We must continue working to educate those who write scripts to open their eyes”.