So I’ve been thinking about this for a while. And I hadn’t written on it, well because I felt like I was just hyper sensitive to it due to the current environment where men think it is ok to do whatever they want with and to women’s bodies. A while ago I unconsciously boycotted Romeo’s songs. The boycott was nothing more than actively not listening to him because every time I did I got this yucky feeling. Then this morning I got tired of listening to my everyday morning pump up songs and clicked on a random mix of Romeo songs to see if my commute would be more exciting. Since my commute routine consists of belching every word of the lyrics to the song I can’t avoid paying close attention to what the songs I’m singing say and mean. Two songs in and I remembered why I didn’t like listening to him. The mix started with “Propuesta Indecente” and by the time I got to “Eres Mia” I was done. If you haven’t paid close attention to the lyrics you may not understand , so I went ahead and translated them for you. Check it out
Si te falto el respeto y luego culpo al alcohol, si levanto tu falda me darias el derecho?
If I’m disrespectful and blame the alcohol, if I lift your skirt would you give me the right?
No te asombres si una noche entro a tu cuarto y nuevamente te hago mia….el egoismo de ser dueno de tu via. Eres Mia
Don’t be surprised if one night I enter your room and I make you mine again…. My selfishness to be the owner of your life. You’re mine.”
The whole song comes off kind of obsessive and stalker-ish and add to that Romeo is basically singing that he might rape her.
The only thing more problematic about this song is that the woman he’s singing to, has a boyfriend and Romeo is just ignoring the fact that she’s clearly with someone else.
Oh boy. It’s not just Romeo Santos either, peep these lyrics from, “Borro Cassette” by Maluma:
“Te dije mami, tomate un trago y cuando estes borracha pa mi casa nos vamos. Me sorprendio cuando sacaste ese cigarro tomaste tanto que lo has olvidado….Conozco ya tu debilidad los tragos solos un par de copas para conocerte en la intimidad”
I told you mami, take a drink and when you’re drunk we’ll go to my house. I was surprised when you took out a cigarette, you drank so much that you’ve forgotten. I know your weakness the drinks, just a pair of cups to know you intimately.
(I know the translation is choppy, this is why ya’ll need to learn Spanish. Semantics people)
Maluma is definitely tip toeing around consent and trying to make it ok by saying that he likes the woman and can’t stop thinking about her.
Obviously Spanish songs aren’t the only ones displaying problematic behavior towards women, Robin Thick’s “Blurred Lines”, Mike Posner’s “Please Don’t Go” and Justin Bieber’s “What Do You Mean” are all examples of how we as a culture need more education about what consent means. But since I mostly only listen to Spanish music it’s what’s caught my attention.
Especially since “Propuesta Indecente” won two awards at Premios Juventud and another two at Premio Lo Nuestro and “Eres Mia” was nominated for various awards at the Billboard Latin Music awards in 2015 and Premio Lo Nuestro. These songs aren’t just songs made by some obscure artist that few people listen to and my feminist man hating agenda is just looking for a bone to pick. These are obviously very popular songs that are getting a lot of air time. My problem isn’t that Romeo, Maluma, Robin Thick, Mike Posner or Justin Bieber are successful artists. My problem is that some of their songs are reaching our youngest audiences and shaping their minds around what consent means. They are our culture’s influencers and the most susceptible are taking cues on what it means to behave like a man and what to expect from men.
And that’s just the thing. SOME of their songs are worrisome. So we convince ourselves it’s not that bad, they’re not bad ALL the time.
The truth is it only takes ONE time to ruin a life. And a man’s ONE time might be xth hundredth time a woman has experienced some kind of sexual assault. They may have all been first and only offenses from the men it came from but for her it’s meant a lifetime of unwanted advances and potentially much worst. We’re letting our culture teach boys that it’s ok to stalk, touch, and intoxicate women without their consent if he REALLY likes her, because maybe just maybe she REALLY likes him back.
When Romeo Santos was asked by Cosmopolitan if the way he acts on stage is how he acts in real life he said “I can do my thing and be the ‘seductor’ that women love, but I leave that persona on stage”. But his audience doesn’t see that, all they see is a successful artist talking about and doing what he wants with women because he’s Romeo Santos (sound familiar?).
I’m not immune to the catchy tunes the lyrics bounce along to. But I’m also a “young” adult now, not a 12 year old girl full of insecurities and trying to learn how to navigate relationships and harassment. Or a young boy learning that I can’t just grab girls because I feel like it. That’s why these songs are so problematic and cause alarm.
I have a mom brain, so I’m careful what I listen to and watch and listen to AROUND my son. You can believe all you want about what media does and doesn’t do to children’s brains but it does on some level affect them. I’m aware of that, so the solution for me is simple, I just don’t allow that garbage time to disturb my peace. There’s so many other things we can listen to that are beautiful and child friendly that aren’t just the wheels on the bus, elmo and cepillin. (Think Bomba Estereo)
It’s not my job to censor an artist. And obviously people like listening to their music because they’re obviously popular. But I do think we should shape conversations around the themes of these songs. And not just between parents and their children. These conversations can be had on air with music show hosts asking artists how they think their music influences young listeners on shows like MTV’s Music Feed, Remexa, Cafeina and even Reventon (I’m looking at you Narcocorrido artists).Schools can offer classes about what the media teaches about relationships and sex and have open discussions about reality and fantasy, youth groups can have these conversations. I mean come on people. We can do better. Maybe I’m being idealistic, but in the meanwhile I’ll be listening to “Soy Yo” and Romeo Santos is just going to have to sit on the back burner til he doesn’t give me creeper vibes.