In this series we’re going to share a few of our own (un)feminist guilty pleasures. It’s those pop culture things that you love, even though deep down inside you know that they might conflict with your feminist values. Maybe it’s a show that makes your Women’s Studies 101 alarm go off, but you just can’t stop tuning in every week. Maybe it’s a celeb gossip blog, or an immature movie marketed to teen boys, or high-fashion magazines where all the models look half dead. Maybe you’re just human, and humans are complex occasionally hypocritical beings. Maybe you have created your own unique definition of what it means to be feminist that includes all of these guilty pleasures (and much more).
We at Feministing believe there are ways to maintain a critical eye towards these (un)feminist things while still enjoying them. It can even be fun! We think you believe this too and we are psyched to see what guilty pleasures you have to add to the mix.
So on that note, to today’s edition, which is reggaeton. Now maybe it’s because I’m Cuban, but nothing gets me dancing faster than some good old reggaeton. We’re talking Daddy Yankee, Don Omar, Wisin y Yandel, Aventura. I love most of it, but especially the songs with a great dance beat. Unfortunately, a lot of my favorite reggaeton tunes have horribly sexist and offensive lyrics. You name it, it’s there. Talk about brutal sex, the objectification of women, machismo at its worse. None of this is unique to reggaeton, and a lot of it comes from the roots of reggaeton, which is a fusion of Jamaican music like reggae and dancehall with Latin American music like bomba, plena, salsa, merengue as well as US hip hop and R&B. (Go here for a great explanation of what reggaeton is, and its history).
That’s why reggaeton is my (un)feminist guilty pleasure. I can’t stop listening to it, because I enjoy it too much (I even have a pandora station that I’m listening to right now!). Occasionally I just pretend that I don’t understand spanish so I can ignore the lyrics, but its tough. What do we do with art forms like music that might use these kinds of sexist troupes? Boycotting the artists does little to remedy the underlying issues of sexism and misogyny that lead to these lyrics. Luckily, there is an alternative for reggaeton lovers who can’t handle the misogyny anymore: Ivy Queen, a female reggaetonera has been gaining popularity. Now, being a woman does not guarantee that her music won’t include any of the same sexist ideas, but from what I’ve listened to, it’s a big improvement.
What music is your (un)feminist guilty pleasure?