Dear lawd! How the years go by?
Had anyone told me of the changes that would happen in my life between the first time I watched this soap opera and now, I would have slapped the shit out of their face, I swear.
Now I look back at that little girl that was watching Rubi at age 13 years at feel pity for her when I see her little views and perceptions. I swear when I look back at myself at those ages of my life, I need to take myself to the Bahamas for one full year, just loving myself and caring for myself.
Ahh lets go talk about Rubi, and the wave of Mexican Soap operas that swept across Nairobi, and the ideas of love that these episodes brought to our lives.
Before we get to Rubi, indulge me, which one was your favorite since 2005 (I don’t even remember when I stopped watching these things, probably when I went to high school and I couldn’t keep up. But now when I went to campus, I completely stopped and started exploring other genres that would fit the identity of who I was becoming).
The first Soap Opera I watched was Secreto De Amor, The Secret of Love. I didn’t like it much; I couldn’t understand why this girl ended up marrying that guy. I still don’t get the insistence of Soap operas that a woman can only be with two men in her life, the one that she loves and the one that loves her. And she has to forget the harm the one she loves did when he appears with a horse on her wedding day. Fuck that shit!
I liked Cuandos Seas Mia though, (When you are Mine). I felt these two were more mature and I extremely loved the female lead (Sylvia Navarro was the absolute power woman) because she crawled from the dirt and became a powerful executive in a big ass company where slapped men who gave her shit. I like slapping men too.
And Now, Let’s Talk About Rubi
This one was quite peculiar given what I had watched about soap operas.
Rubi, unlike the others, had a couple/thropple as their main poster [either two women fighting over a man, or two men fighting over a woman. Scratch that. It was only two women fighting over the man. The one that he loved, of course, she must be poor and naïve (lovable), and the one that he cheated on the one he loves with, but shit got serious, she either got pregnant, and they got married. The second one is mostly rich and intelligent and for that, she is unlovable.] Did you follow that?
Yea, so Rubi didn’t have either of that shit. There was one main character, and she was a woman! She, Rubi, is the lead of this Soap Opera.
When I watched Rubi in 2007, I couldn’t understand her. In the film, she is referred to as a bad woman because she is ambitious and just wants to live a wealthy life. She thus ditches her poor boyfriend and steals her best friend’s fiancé (on their wedding day mind you, and he is also her poor boyfriend’s best friend). And everybody just hates Rubi except her gay best friend who understands that love does not put food on the table.
And of course, she loses her true love and spends the rest of her life without that spark in her life. Blah Blah Blah.
In 2007, I agreed with that definition of Rubi and dear Lawd didn’t I hate her? Back then when there was a term like Gold-digger, I couldn’t love Rubi. I just wanted her to get payback for what she had done to her best friend (who has a bad leg btw) and for not choosing love over money.
The fuck was your problem Wambui?
Do you see it? Do you see it?
Flashforward 10 Years Later
Actually, it’s been close to 14 years now! And Citizen just happened to bring back Rubi Mon-Fri at 5pm and baby, wherever I am, I have to get on that and just devour.
Right now, after 14 years of seeing the world, getting into various relationships, understanding that the secret of love is that there is nothing like love in this fucking world, and the only time you can get close to feeling love (the sparks) is when she/he or is yours. Did you see? Ah well…
After 14 years of realizing that love is a commodity the patriarchy sold to women so that we can abandon our dreams and ambitions, focus on just loving men, who do not have the capacity for love, daydream because of stupid ideas like marriage and happily ever after, get crazy because men cannot be faithful to us, spend your life wondering what you lacked that made him cheat, getting baby after baby so that you can get his lost love back… Urrgh I am tired.
Point is, Now I can see and understand the reasons and motivation behind this brave, ambitious, and intelligent woman, Rubi.
Femme Fatale; Strategy
Rubi is that woman! She is beautiful, she is sexy and she knows it.
Having grown up in a poor family; understanding the things she could have had were she rich (because she compares her life with that of her rich friend- the one whose boyfriend she steals), she decides to have a rich life in her future; no matter what it takes.
So, what does she do?
She gets close to a rich girl who has low self-esteem issues and Rubi ‘builds’ her up while Maribelle gives her jewelry, clothes and invites her to spend time in her big ass house.
She manipulates Maribelle to cling to every word she says and to rely on her validation in everything she does especially in her relationship with her fiancé.
The first time Maribelle and her fiancé meet (because they met online), Rubi ensures she dresses better than her friend and meets him first so he is overly smitten by her.
She then meets his friend and falls in love with him but realizes he is not as wealthy as the fiancé so she does everything in her power to win the latter. She gets a job at his firm, wears seductive clothing, and finally runs off with him on the wedding day.
Note: Everyone blames Rubi for ‘stealing’ that guy but he also had a brain, right? Kind of the thing Adam did when he ate the fruit and blamed Eve for his stupidity and her brilliance. Fucking Men!
So finally, she gets her dream life. She is not with the man that she loves (but let’s be honest, if she had he would have finally turn foe coz he would eternally be jealous of all the men that would want her and he would also, subject her to poor life and who wants that- but he does get rich afterward. Men!)
Note: I would like to employ such strategies in the running of my business because that’s a fucking winning tactic.
The Other Side
Growing up, the world around me taught me that being a good woman means sacrificing yourself completely for the ones around you. Being a good woman means subjecting yourself to full misery and always putting a man first; never putting yourself first. That’s what love means.
Soap operas conditioned women to never want anything out of this life but the love of a man, marry that man, mother him, ‘give’ him babies, cater to each of his whims, and grow fucking old when you are just 30 so you can please him and make him happy. Damn the patriarchy!
Rubi has a sister who is completely opposite of her and is the joy of their mother and the pride of the village around her. Unlike Rubi, Christina does not have many dreams of leaving the life she grew up in. She says she is proud of the life she grew up in.
She has struggled so much to care for her family; pay bills and her sister’s fees yet she easily falls for a chauffeur and decides that he will be the one she spends her life with. Come on, Mami, after prioritizing everyone but herself, wouldn’t be better if she married rich? She refuses the love of a doctor to date this guy.
Thing is, this guy has low self-esteem issues because of his poverty. He is even jealous when she gets a job before him. He is happy because she never asks for much. I once was that girl; that one who was easily satisfied by the bare minimum that a man could offer. Then I realized that I was only hurting myself coz I wasn’t happy; I was just settling. Fuck shit.
Now Christina will live in the same neighborhood that she grew up in, with a man whose love will obviously leave after some time, and her love will soon fade away when she realizes he is going to sleep hungry while her man does nothing about it. Wow, isn’t love tasteful.
If I remember right, Rubi will enjoy the money that she gets and the attention of wealthy men who will shower her with gifts. Although she does not marry ‘the man she loves she will always have his heart (because the poor guy is madly in love with her even though he loves and marries other women- including poor Maribelle).
Rubi will eventually lose her leg (Karma because she laughed at the crippled Maribelle) but her wits do not die. She coaches Christina’s daughter to be just like her, to want things out of this life that is more than loving a man who will eventually disrespect you. In the end, that small girl goes to ‘the man Rubi loved’ and he is smitten as he just was the first time, he saw Rubi. Fin.
Instead of the Crucifix having a man on it, we should just put a woman there.
Because this world, as it is now and as it will be for a couple of years because Sleeping Beauty hasn’t been kissed by the witch yet, is dependent on the sacrifice of women’s agency, intelligence, and lack of self-interest.
These things are extremely romanticized because a male-dominated world- meaning a world that caters to the low self-esteem of men, is dependent on making women stupid so men can thrive.
So yet again; Fuck the patriarchy
Prioritize yourselves, please.
Be bad women if it means you win at the end of the day. I don’t think a woman should marry a man, it’s beneath us, but if you marry one, ensure he is rich- because whether rich or poor, men are the same.
They will eventually treat you like a piece of shit when you love them, better a rich one, right? And please, know divorce exists, divorce anyone when the death happens; mostly the death of love.
And get your own please. I know there are different ways to make in this life and one includes marriage, but that ends too, better build your own and build your empire. I am doing just that; how about we all do it, there’s room for all of us.
The Changing Face of Soap Operas
While I do not engage much with soap operas nowadays (except Rubi-which I gladly and voluntarily watch- and the ones that come at 8 on Citizen- my mother likes them- and they just represent the same shit) I have realized they are gradually changing.
Of course, the ones that feature on Citizen Tv are pure bullshit but there was a time we had Telemundo in the house and I would see this boss-queen-women running the shows. You know how media influences society- as much as it reflects- this is what is happening. And it began happening some time back with shows like Soy Tu Duena but still, there is the insistence of our society to maintain the status quo (the patriarchy) and only show soap operas that portray women in the patriarchal sense.
But hey, I see women building companies from the ground up, I see women putting ourselves first, and I see women rising, only if they realize the secret of love. Aii Mami!!