[Marxism] Misogyny in Reggaeton Lyrics

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Thu Jan 18 08:06:38 MST 2007

Perhaps it's because most of the folks posting to lists like
this are male, but we don't see much discussion of issues 
about the oppression of women, socially, culturally and in
other ways around here. I'm pleased that the Cuban media
took on this question in a recent long essay on reggaeton.

I assume that they are referring to "misogyny" which means
"woman-hating" since I've never heard of "misogamy" and
what's interesting here is that the newspaper is taking up the
issue of the sexism in the lyrics of the very popular musical
form. I spell it "reggaeton", but it seems to be spelled in a
number of different ways. Anyway, it's significant that this is
now being taken up in the pages of JR. I've found that there
is some reggaeton, though not much, which appeals to me,
and like all youthful forms, some of the appeal of reggaeton
has to be that it annoys older adults. Anyway, that's my take.
This is a substantially stronger article than the last major one
I can recall from the Cuban media, published about a year ago:

http://www.walterlippmann.com/docs072.html )

Walter Lippmann
Los Angeles, California


Misogamy in Reggueaton Lyrics
By: corresp at jrebelde.cip.cu
Email: Julio Martinez Molina
2007-01-15 | 14:38:40 EST


In this commentary I am not going to flood my judgment from the blind well of
those who rant and rave against reggueaton at any given opportunity, nor will I
fall into the vicious circle of trying to find equilibrium between its alleged
virtues and supposed defects.

Reggueaton is a fact of life. It is now welcomed with passion in almost any
corner of the globe; the craftiest politicians dabble with it to win over the
masses; the GRAMMIES, MTV and Billboard magazine are awash in it; and people
from Cuba to Germany are dancing to it...

At any moment, in Germany, or any other country, the Grimm brother’s Town
Musicians of Bremen will be remade with the dog, donkey, rooster and cat dancing
to the driving beat of reggueaton in the background.

While, personally, this rhythm always leaves me with the unstoppable urge to go
to the bathroom, nothing will stop people from talking at lengths about the
genre’s popular nature, humble origins, ghetto stamp, street representation
and all the other arguments we have heard over and over again.

So as not to go against the tide and leave the confines of political
correctness, I will also climb aboard this bandwagon that proposes that, rather
than looking at the genre as a whole, each exponent of this musical form should
be judged for the worth of their lyrics in a punctual manner.

This takes us to the heart of the issue: there is no way to defend the way in
which reggueaton songs are written in Latin America, in the Caribbean in Cuba,
the United States and even in certain places in Europe.

The aggressiveness of the marginal essence of reggueaton has become
discrimination against one’s fellow person, the animalization of eroticism,
extreme obscenity in texts and destructive levels of undermining female dignity.

So as not to water down this piece by speaking in general terms without
referring to any song or artist in particular, I will say that several examples
of the aforementioned can be found in Cuba.

Here is an example of the most popular reggueaton choruses heard and sung by
young people across the island:

«Déjala que llore por mí (coro: ¡que se vaya!), que aquí nadie se muere por
nadie, que con mi gente yo me voy pa´l party, porque yo soy un camaján de la
calle (coro: ¡qué volá!) (se repite). Ahora no me vengas llorando, ahora no
me vengas pidiendo (...), recoge tus maletas y vete bajando».

“Let her cry for me (chorus: Take off!), here nobody dies for nobody, I’m
off to party with my buddies, because I am a street superstar (chorus: What’s
up!) Don’t come to me now crying, don’t come to me now asking for anything
(...) pack your bags and get out of here.”

The viewpoint of coarse and crude male domination —constantly minimizing the
conscience of the feminine sex— that oozes from lyrics like this, is simply

After the most pornographic treatment possible of Little Red Riding Hood engaged
in a lewd verbal struggle with a pedophilic wolf in the sadly popular song by
Clan 537, Acento Latino has released another song on the same misogynist theme,
once again demeaning women.

None of these musicians —some of whom are even fairer than Vanilla Ice— have
anything to do with the ghetto. What is happening is that, with the absence of
any barriers whatsoever, artists are looking at all cost for any hook that could
become popular without taking a moment to think about the possible negative
affects their lyrics might have.

There is no need to take a class on psychology to realize that adolescents
identify with movie stars, celebrities, artists and song lyrics. It is a time in
life when young people are in the phase of gathering judgment tools that will
allow them to save themselves from such natural tendencies. As a result of such
songs, adolescents run the risk of using such barbarous frameworks of conduct as
a model.

I say barbarous because these and other lyrics (a degree of bad taste that is
not only the sole domain of reggueaton) represent visions and concepts that are
vulgar, retrograde and uncivilized in relation to their opinions of women.

There is no need to attack women just to get street credentials. To be more
“original” there is no need to push the envelope of rudeness. There are
already too many street superstars; although, luckily, there are also many
people who are able to love others to the point of dying for them.

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