How to Accept your looks

“Betty La Fea”

My two kids love to watch the Filipino version of “Betty La fea”. My eldest would stop at anything she does just to watch this popular soap opera which was originally written by Fernando Gaitn and was first aired in Columbia in 1999. The show lasted for only two years but more than twelve (12) versions of this telenovela have been made in other countries.

This soap opera followed the famous Mexican TV telenovela, “Marimar”, that was originally broadcast in 1994 on Televisa. Singer-actress Thala was the soap’s major star.

In the Philippines, “Betty La Fea” (Ugly Betty) is now a household name for it excites the viewers on the challenges met by the “ugly” Betty. Unlike “Marimar”, the synopsis of Betty evolved around the struggles of a working girl whose physical features overshadowed her high intelligence. In Columbia’s version of “Betty La Fea”, the major character of Betty was played by a lady named Beatriz Aurora Pinzon Solano (Betty).

Compared to her prettier workmates, Betty was always the object of ridicule and constant scorn owing to her unattractiveness although she was very intelligent.

The plot of the whole story evolved at the Eco Moda fashion design company where Betty was eventually promoted to a senior job and became the lover of her boss, Armando Mendoza, Eco Moda’s smart and handsome president. Mendoza was also the son of one of the company’s owners.

The ending part was that Betty captured the heart of Armando and received a grooming makeover. The whole story was spiced up by the character of Marcela Valencia,daughter of the other company founder, and the fiancee of Armando. She also has high position in Eco Moda. Armando refused to accept Patricia, Marcela’s best friend, for he knew Marcela wants her to spy on him, given his womanizer’s reputation.The story went on, and so forth and so on.

Now, for the analysis: Betty’s character is an amalgam of truth depicting the highly-biased society of looks. It advanced the idea that brains may be useful to the technical world but there is still an imposed demand that attractiveness will count more.

However, Betty’s character has proven that brains matter most and looks does matter but less in the fashion industry when it comes to management and control of resources.

If you noticed, there were episodes in the soap which featured how Armando tried to persuade Betty to manipulate the funds of the company on his favor. The manner of cost-cutting was also showed as sidelight but which delivered the message that a fashion industry thrives on quality and therefore has to be expensive and classy.

This means that cost-cutting would destroy quality product and lessen buying clients. The show was successful in instilling two moral lessons: the power of the brains and the idiosyncrasies of management that more often than not ends up in monopoly no matter how its started with the concept of equality.

Let me explain: Armando knows that Eco Moda is a company that has two founders, his family and the family of his fiancee. The idea was to make the company achieve profit through an equal-sharing scheme, but at the last minute, when Armando felt that it is losing, he created his own company to have a fall back. Hence he manipulated everything, including the feelings of Betty just to gain control over the entire resources of Eco Moda.

Human greed showed in all the episodes. The greed of Armando to get control of the entire company, the greed of Marcela to control the life of Armando and the greed of Patricia to be noticed by all men and get the richest of all to marry her.

Betty’s innocence and sincerity on the other hand softened the ugly sides of Eco moda. In simple words, the “la fea” or “the ugly” part of the entire soap is not Betty but the entire interplay of greed that consumed the powerful executives running Eco Moda.

Nothing is new in the real world. Human greed consumes man’s rationality. Betty La Fea is a symbolism of a new dimension of looking at life: that innocence, experience and brains could always make an attractive woman powerful, beautiful and most of all-ESSENTIAL