Monday, August 8

“If she’s a lesbian we have a threesome”: the double standard with LGTBI reggaeton and female sexuality


Last November one of the most anticipated sessions of the Argentine Bizarrap came out. In her, reggaeton player Anuel AA she sang the following: “The baby has a son, that’s nothing, I raised him. If she’s a lesbian, then ‘then we have a threesome’. At that time the lyrics went unnoticed, but it brings together in one sentence all the problems that reggaeton and urban music have with female sexuality. Specifically, with bisexuality and lesbianism.

Women have burst into the urban scene by drops and until a few years ago the referents were counted on the fingers of two hands. But when they have entered, they have done so with force. So much so, that for some time now they are the ones who raise the LGTB references and the opening discourse within the genre. In just five years holding the loudspeaker, they have done more for the visibility of the collective than any man during all their decades of supremacy.

Now it is not strange that the Canarian Ptazeta rises to fame speaking to her Mommythat Lola Indigo sings that “I like them, but they too, and if you’re not careful I’ll steal your wife” in Single ladies or that Rosalía does a tandem with Tokischa where they forcefully affirm that “friends who kiss are the best company”.

But the one who has carved out a niche for herself at the top of the mainstream by openly manifesting herself as bisexual has been María Becerra. The 22-year-old Argentine accumulates 10 million followers with lyrics like “girl, I’m hypnotized by your hips” and songs like maleficent –with Cazzu, also bisexual– or Quiet, where she and FMK sing to the same girl. Unfortunately, this progress is not parallel to that of gay or bisexual men in reggaeton or urban music. And that smells singe.

In real life, outside of video clips and charts, lesbianism faces greater invisibility than male homosexuality. Also bisexuality is still in the closet. The masculine one at all and the feminine one leaving between insults like “vicious” or proposals of trios. Anuel AA’s is not a loose verse, it is society’s macho prejudices aired by someone who believes he is entitled to do so. What’s the catch?

“I celebrate that they appear within the mainstream other expressions that five or ten years ago were very difficult to see”, says Romina Bernardo, better known as Chocolate Remix. Argentina was a pioneer with her feminist and lesbian reggaeton in 2015. “Hey, male reggaeton player, listen to what I say. You do not know about women, now you will learn with me ”, she challenged her that year in what women wantwhen visibility in Latin music was just a mirage that she decided to break because “I wanted to talk about my sexuality and felt that it was not represented.”

In his opinion, not everything goes. “I don’t like it when people who are not part of the community show up queer or dissident, or who embody a role within the patriarchal game. Tokischa is not the same as María Becerra, to give an example”, differentiates the singer. The latter is a tricky issue, especially in a genre where women have appeared for years as a mere decorative object. The question is whether the market accepts these LGTB proposals because they maintain the old logic and the masculine gaze. If there is a bias marked by the malegaze.

Being a normative lesbian woman is not the same as being one who does not respond to hegemonic canons, stereotypes of beauty or eroticism

Chocolate Remix
Reggaeton

The slab of the ‘male gaze’

“It is not the same to be a normative lesbian woman than another who does not respond to hegemonic canons, stereotypes of beauty or eroticism,” says Choco about her particular case. “There are doors that open and others that close based on this,” although she acknowledges that the latter are more common. In the music industry, as in all those related to the arts, machismo and homophobia go hand in hand when the important thing is to sell. “Sexuality is exploited a lot in the capitalist world, but it is an eroticism very limited to stereotypes,” adds Romina.



Marta Salicrú, director of Radio Primavera Sound, shares that reggaeton is not a puritanical genre, but it is “profoundly conservative towards gender roles.” “The masculine gaze, the male gaze, is deactivating the combative component of these letters. It is a habitual attitude in which the desire of women or LGTBI people is made invisible in order to satisfy their own, that of men”, identifies the expert. It is a way of converting speech queer in a projection of their filias.

However, you have to be careful when underestimating a woman’s message based on how she looks, is dressed or has makeup. This debate had a lot of scope with the representation of Chanel in Eurovision and she herself went out to vindicate her decisions, her professionalism and her struggles. María Becerra has also acknowledged that she has been taken as a “degenerate who does not settle for anything” for showing bisexuality in their songs.

That masculine look, the male gaze, is deactivating the combative component of these lyrics

Marta Salicru
Director of Radio Primavera Sound

Romina warns that the problem is not them, but how the industry treats them. “There are women doing reggaeton who are typically desirable to the average cis man, but there are also others who are appearing and taking places little by little.” It is the example of Ptazeta, Tokischa or, in the case of the transsexual collective, Villano Antillano. “What has touched us as gender-sex dissidents is to open doors that make life easier for many people,” Romina believes.



Ly Raine, rapper and LGTBI exponent, believes that the other generation of women is only embracing the prejudices that have been imposed on them. “La Zowi or Bad Gyal have reappropriated insults like ‘bitch’ or ‘whore’ so they don’t hurt so much, and there are people from the group doing the same. I can call myself a dyke, but if they call me on the street there’s a party,” says the 25-year-old, who acknowledges the efforts of other artists “who have made us go out.”

In the case of Ly Raine there was no traumatic or premeditated confession, but he has had to face the typical attacks on the collective. “It pisses me off that being a lesbian is like you’re inviting a threesome. No, sir, as bisexual as she is, I don’t want to be with you, ”she criticizes. Despite everything, she recognizes a greater diversity of LGTBI voices among women that she attributes to the feminist “moment of union”. Among men it does not happen because “in urban music they are considered as the typical kids gobble up and masculine”. Although there are always exceptions.

La Zowi or Bad Gyal have reappropriated insults like ‘bitch’ or ‘whore’ so they don’t hurt so much and there are people from the group doing the same

Ly Raine
urban artist

Fragile masculinity closes cabinets

Hugo Durán, whose stage name is Yer, is one of the few urban artists who does not hide his homosexuality, but instead represents it in his video clips. Something that should be normal, but unfortunately it is a rarity. The song of It’s too late, but above all the video, where a homophobic aggression appears, marked a turning point in Yer’s career. “It was very vindictive, but I have always treated him normally,” says the 22-year-old.

Coming out of the closet in their personal lives is already unthinkable for many artists of the genre, but also claiming it in their music and videos is a step further. “The sexualization of women is quite evident. For example, when two female artists collaborate, in the video clip they can interact with an erotic, picaresque or sexual touch. Between two men we never see that type of treatment, since it seems that it is not what sells, ”laments the singer.

She criticizes the hypersexualization of the industry towards her colleagues, often forced by the supposed audience canons. “A male listener does not mind listening to a woman and finding out that she is bisexual, it may even make some of them morbid,” she censures.



The biggest proof of homophobia in the world of reggaeton it was starred by Ozuna, who has never come out as gay or bisexual. In 2019, an intimate video of the singer was released having relationships with other men, including the rag picker Kevin Fret, the first to come out of the closet in Latin America. The famous singer of me x you you x me He assured the police that Fret was extorting him. Days after being told at the police station that the video was going to be made public, the rag picker was shot dead while he was on his motorcycle. The reaction against Ozuna was brutal, but more because of the homosexual content of the video than because of Fret’s tragic end.

“That fragile masculinity influences and the need to represent something that not all men are,” says Yer. “Within the urban movement, the ego is one of the main elements of the image of any artist and it seems that one cannot be cool or be sure of oneself if one declares himself bi or homosexual”, he laments, and specifies that This happens especially in the case of rap. Marta Salicrú agrees and provides the context for this phenomenon.

Fragile masculinity means you can’t be cool or confident if you come out as bi or gay

yer
urban artist

“The gangsta rap –as opposed to that of the East Coast, linked more to civil rights– was the one that triumphed when it passed into the mainstream and had as part of its lyrical agenda to see who called it the fattest: since I kill cops, I fuck whores and only I care about wearing the most expensive watch in the neighborhood. This caused a style to be imposed, the use of women as a mere decorative object and the bragadoccio”, says the director of Radio Primavera Sound. In reggaeton, trap and rap, many of these clichés have been repeated.

But Salicrú acknowledges that currently “there is an opening regarding gender diversity that helps to have more references.” All the interviewees coincide in mentioning a name: Bad Bunny. Although the Puerto Rican artist does not define himself as part of the LGTB collective, he has expressed his support for it and has not ruled out that he will be attracted to men in the future. “Creating icons like this, that defend the collective and support us, is important”, admits Yer.



Reggaeton, at the forefront LGTBI

Ly Raine believes that “certain artists who are very stick together they are causing a change, even if it is by marketing. They may do it for their own benefit, but they reach millions of people.” Romina, from Chocolate Remix, shares that any decision, including that of Bad Bunny painting his nails in a video clip, is “controlled by the market”. “But what do I know, I’m optimistic,” she says when she sees him.

Against all the prejudice and the attack on reggaeton for its macho vis, Choco defends that this genre is being the most avant-garde. “Now punk and rock are in the conservative place, they have become a bit old and sexist, and it is reggaeton that is generating revolution,” he says. “With such great power and legitimacy that it has in the industry, it can be used as a platform for change,” defends the reggaeton artist.

“I agree that the urban genre and reggaeton are the most avant-garde in terms of sexual identity. Bad Bunny and others are showing that these social constructions around sexuality and gender are bullshit, “adds Yer. And despite the fact that there are still many things to change and a lot of struggle to do, “the urban, which is the most mainstream and what almost all young people listen to is at the top of the representation and defense of LGBT rights.”





www.eldiario.es