In April 2017, Netflix released the first season of Las Chicas Del Cable (Cable Girls), produced by Bambu Producciones in Spain. It’s a Spanish drama – not necessarily a telenovela – but enough to have suspense and thrills to be considered a drama. Spoken originally in Spanish but offered in English, the show is a must-see for all.
“All over the world, young female office workers in the 1920s were moving to progressive, modernized cities in hopes of landing a steady job as a telephone operate,” Bustle said. Emily Spivack of Smithsonian Magazine said, “All these factors – freedoms experienced from working outside the home, a push for equal rights, greater mobility, technological innovation and disposable income – exposed people to new places, ideas and ways of living.”
It’s a progressive, modernized take of issues that are openly talked about today, but were hidden then. It’s the ‘other-side-of-the-story’s voices that weren’t loud enough to be heard in the 1920s, but are coming out now. Starring: Blanca Suárez, Ana Fernández, Nadia de Santiago, Maggie Civantos, Ana Polvorosa, Yon González, and Martiño Rivas.
The plot starts in 1928 in Madrid. Set in an actual telephone company, Telefónica, the series tells the story of four twentysomething women who sacrificed their lives to work there as cable girls. What’s a cable girl? It was a role designed for someone to work for cheap pay by connecting telephone lines as a switchboard operator. (During the 1920s, it was uncommon for women to work, and if they did, they were paid dirt cheap hourly wages). Based on friendship, love and newfound independence, there’s a defying fight for freedom in this show. It’s a true journey of tears, joy, anger, excitement, and more!
The writers beautifully depict nepotism and male empowerment in the work force – two characteristics that defined the era. However, they write about the other side of the story. The women who weren’t given the credit when it was clearly deserved, the struggle of female sexuality being hidden while males were expected to sleep around, and how challenging it was to be a woman of the era when laws weren’t on their side.
The show largely touches upon the LGBTQ+ community before it held a name. Two women discover their love for one another, confused, but knowing it felt right. One, dating a progressive man for the time, actually encouraged her to discover herself – a notion that doesn’t really summarize the 1920s. The show even goes into depths about how a woman always knew she felt more comfortable in a man’s body, and actually goes to lengths to figure out how she could do such – and what that meant.
The plot takes hold on female issues of the era as well. One woman deals with trauma as she has no way out of an abusive marriage. During the 1920s, wives had no say in divorce or help – everything was the husband’s say. They couldn’t even get money out of the bank without their husband’s permission. It was complete entrapment. The show even talks about how one of the women deals with escaping her father’s abusive wrath of being forced to stay home and be married. Routinely, climbing out her bedroom window to go to work and be free, she even ends up joining a female empowerment group.
Actress Nadia de Santiago commented, “[it’s] set in Spain, but it is very international. It’s the 1920s but it could be the ‘20s in any other cities. And though it is set in the 1920s, we don’t really discuss politics of the decade. It’s not about what’s happening in Spain historically.”
Look out – the third season is coming out on September 7, 2018!