24 Feb, 2023 @ 12:45
1 min read

Efforts by Carnival organisers in Spain’s Catalonia to rein in sexist songs likened to days of Franco 

Famous Carnival Parade From Spain's Costa Blanca In Madrid Sneak Preview
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Carnival organisers have warned participating floats that they could lose their public subsidies if they keep playing sexist or misogynist songs during their parades.

The annual festival each February is famous for its incredible street parades, colourful fancy dress and wild parties – but there is also a dark side to Carnival that seems to revel in chauvinism.

Accordingly, there has been a groundswell of public support for the move to combat this ugly side that historically comes up during Carnival by town halls in Catalonia.

But the issue has been muddied by the difficulty in determining which lyrics are actually denigrating to women and which are merely ‘sexy’,  The World reports.

Coso Carnival In Tenerife
Coso in Carnival in Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Towns in Catalonia are proposing to withdraw funding to floats that play sexist songs. (Photo by Mercedes Menendez/Pacific Press)

And censorious efforts to root out offending songs has harkened back to the days of Franco, according to one organiser.

The song “SloMo,” sung by Spanish superstar Chanel, has been flagged as problematic, even though the singer is committed to the cause of gender equality.

In the town of Calafell, along the beach road, where hundreds of dancers and floats are getting ready for Carnival, the debate has been raging. 

According to Pere Nin, a float organiser who helped draw up the rules against sexist lyrics back in 2019, each town has its own list of banned songs, and beforehand, each float has to give the town the names of the songs it wants to play.

“It’s one thing if a song is obviously sexist,” he said. “It’s another when a song has a line or a word that might offend.”

Another much-loved song, ‘Suavemente’, by Elvis Crespo, has also been banned, causing people to question the whole project. 

malaga carnival e
Malaga Carnival. The proposal has received a mixed response, with some feeling it is too censorious

Dancer Sara Coam said there is no room for macho music that objectifies women, while her friend Marta Tamayo said it is more complicated. 

“If people would stop listening, the artists would stop writing sexist lyrics,” she said.

DJ Miguel Aguila, who was also on hand, said he is against the bans altogether.

Even instigator Pere Nin is having his doubts, being old enough to remember the dark days of Franco.

“It’s starting to remind me of other periods we’d rather not remember,” he said. 

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