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Senator Jara, left, wants controls over song lyrics such as those sung by Maluma. Senator Jara, left, wants controls over song lyrics such as those sung by Maluma.

Senator calls for controls on sexist messages in reggaeton music

'It’s not about censorship but about the authorities applying the law'

A Morena party senator has proposed a bill that would regulate song lyrics and other media content that promotes machismo culture and violence against women.

Senator Salomón Jara Cruz from Oaxaca wants to reform the federal laws of Radio and Television and of Public Administration as a means of confronting the problem of gender violence.

“We have all seen commercials, posters and ad campaigns based on the exploitation of women’s bodies and perpetuating the stereotype that converts them into sexual objects at the disposition of men,” he said.

“The same happens in several genres of music whose lyrics present women as objectified and hypersexualized products, whose value depends exclusively on their physical appearance and sexual use.”

Jara proposed investing the Ministry of the Interior with greater powers for preventing and sanctioning the media for content containing messages of violence against women. The bill would enable the state to allocate funds collected from fines to the campaign.

The proposal cited a study from the University of Chile titled “Gender violence in reggaeton,” which was sponsored and published by that country’s Ministry of Culture. The study claims that the popular musical genre routinely expresses physical, psychological and symbolic violence against women.

The analysis of 70 reggaeton songs only found 11 free of gender abuse in the lyrics. The other 59 allegedly contained 568 references to violence against women.

The most violent song according to the study was “Cuatro Babys” by Colombian singer Maluma. Researchers claim to have found 44 references to violence in the tune.

“What’s worrisome about these messages is that they aren’t broadcast at two in the morning via regulated outlets, but they are what we hear on the radio and see on television at prime time,” said Jara.

He lamented that such songs are “what our daughters and sons are exposed to, my daughters and granddaughter, the girls and boys of all of Mexico.”

The proposal emphasizes that drastic times call for drastic measures.

“It’s not about censorship, but about the authorities applying the law, and the mandate is very clear: guarantee that women have a life free of every type of violence,” said Jara.

“In the face of the crisis, some propose the usual easy way out: inefficient penal populism. We’re proposing a … paradigm shift to disrupt and redefine normalized patriarchal structures, and to force the state to assume responsibilities that previous regimes gave up on.”

The initiative was submitted to the Senate Commissions of Gender Equality and of Legislative Studies for review.

Source: El Financiero (sp)

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