The Campaign Against Gender-Based Violence in Reggaeton Lyrics: Phase 2

Imagen tomada dee la página de Facebook de la campaña Usa la razón.

She likes sushi, but made out of very hot meat, and she feels it. She is a real crazy bitch.
Image taken from the “Use Your Head” campaign's Facebook page.

In June 2014, Global Voices wrote about the Usa la razón (Use Your Head) campaign, where a group of Colombian photographers choreographs scenes to depict the violence of many lyrics in reggaeton music.

Dicen que ocho de cada diez mujeres que escuchan este popular género musical latinoamericano sienten que las maltrata. 

They say that eight out of ten women who listen to the popular Latin American music genre feel mistreated by it.

Reggaeton is a genre with roots in Caribbean music—a spin-off from Jamaican reggae with some hip hop influences. Its lyrics tend to be about social criticism, love, and the ordinary problems of daily life.

Usa la razón recently released several new images, posted on its Facebook page, that—very graphically—showcase the violence described in the lyrics of several very popular songs that are often performed in public, presumably without much thought about the words’ abusive meaning.

¿Sientes lo que escuchas?, una campaña contra los mensajes del Reggaeton. Creada por estudiantes de Colombia.

“Do you feel what you sing?” asks the Colombian student campaign against messages in reggaeton.

Usa la razón‘s Facebook page links to an article on the blog Pencil and Paper, which argues that not all lyrics in reggaeton music contain violent messages, and tries to explain why some artists resort to this kind of language.

Y siendo justos, no todas las letras escritas de reggaetón son necesariamente malas, crueles e incitadoras de maltrato y violencia hacia la mujer. En algunas se escribe sobre situaciones propias de nuestra condición humana […]. Así que siendo justos, las personas que escriben dichas letras –normalmente las mismas que las cantan–, son seres humanos que como nosotros también necesitan liberar, purificar o limpiar su existencia de los miedos, perjuicios [sic], desilusiones, tristezas, etc., que habiten su alma. Ellos también necesitan desahogarse. De hecho, probablemente en un grado muy superior al de cualquier persona del común, pues su escritura, su “catarsis” y por ende su expresión, es muy peculiar:

To be fair, not all the reggaeton lyrics are necessarily mean, cruel, and encourage abuse and violence towards women. In some of them, we find situations inherent to our human condition […]. So, to be fair, people who write those lyrics—usually the same people who sing them—are human beings who, just as us, need to liberate, purify, or clean their existence from fears, prejudices, disillusionment, sadness, and so on, that dwell in their souls. They also need to free themselves. In fact, they probably have this compulsion more than the average person, and their writing is an important “catharsis” for them, making their self-expression quite unique.


In my bed, I put it by the center, I take her and I subdue her by hers.
Image taken from the “Use your head” campaign's Facebook page.

The campaign has being also using Twitter to spread the descriptive images.

If you keep that attitude, I'm going to rape you.

So, stop the rebellion. One of women's biggest fears: being raped.

If at that last minute, any hole gets milk out, she tells me that on her face I shall spill it. 

Do you feel what you listen to? Use your head: campaign against the messages in reggaeton.

If you keep that attitude, I'm going to rape you. So, stop the rebellion. 

Do you feel what you listen to? Use your head: campaign against the messages in reggaeton.

She has me sweating as a lunatic, I'm maniac, it's critical.

Do you feel what you listen to? Use your head: campaign against the messages in reggaeton.

She likes sushi, but made out of very hot meat, and she feels it. She is a real crazy bitch. Hot meat.

Puppets who can't move the neurons but the butt.

Do you feel what you listen to? Just use your head when listening to reggaeton lyrics, and you'll be sick.

What did our male-chauvinist fathers used to listen? Violence against women comes from many centuries ago…

On Facebook, a female user says:

[…] hay muchas formas de maltrato y violencia en nuestros medios, las novelas violentas, los hombres que no dejan caminar libremente a las mujeres en la calle a punta de piropos estúpidos y vulgares, el acoso en el trabajo, la desigualdad en sueldos cargos desempeñados y pensiones. En fin. Se quedan cortos con la campaña, pero es muy buena.

[…] there are many forms of abuse and violence in our media: violent novels, men who won't leave women alone in the streets, pestering them with stupid and vulgar catcalling, harassment at the workplace, inequality in salaries and pensions. The list goes on. No one campaign is enough, but it's a start.

Another Facebook user offered the following controversial comment, supplying (unintentionally perhaps) evidence that the campaign against violent lyrics has a long way to go:

Desgraciadamente esta violencia sexual tiene un cómplice: las mismas mujeres…

Unfortunately, this sexual violence has an accomplice: women themselves…

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