an unexpected feminist icon? · Global Voices in Italian

Shakira is a mirror theme for an entire female community

Shakira in 2017. Source: World Economic Forum/Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Creating music from love stories is nothing new, whether it’s happy or unfortunate times. For Shakira, Colombian, icon of the new mass cultureit’s cathartic. His last song, “BZRP Music Sessions, Vol. 53”, was written after the official separation from the former Spanish footballer of Barcelona Gerard Pique (en) and it really is a powerhouse. An Argentine journalist defined it as a version “peevish heavy metal” (e.g. cSame as all subsequent links, unless otherwise indicated) and, since its release on January 11, 2023, the song has broken all barriers and caused a furore on social media.

The text of BZRP Vol. 53 is not only an explicit and direct denunciation of the reasons for the breakup, but also connotes a symbology, clichés experienced by the female audience. Shakira, the Latin American superstar, breaks the stereotypes of patriarchy.

The break that Shakira generated in the public is perhaps the highest point reached by the artist. Some of her place her at the antipodes of feminism. Her anger is more of a masculine emotion than a feminine one. Women are identified with more passive feelings and emotions, such as sadness or guilt; according to the patriarchal order, they must hold off the cried and feelings of irritation. Thus, those who break the silence and denounce, annoy. This contestation behavior is well viewed by feminism; silences no longer exist, disloyalty is openly exhibited.

Far from showing herself as the submissive woman who suffers from the betrayal of her ex, Shakira shows herself as a “wolf”, aware of her superiority, far beyond the possibilities of her ex (“a ti te quedé grande”) and her rival (“no es como suena”). Instead of crying, she launches a “las mujeres facturan” and, in doing so, questions the theme of men seen as suppliers, with substantial earningsespecially among the wives of football players known as “botineras” (da botín, Spanish word for “loot”). Shakira needs nothing, fame or money, her successful career precedes her and far surpasses that of her ex.

Romantic love is political and patriarchal. From a Latin American feminist perspective, we would say it is a mechanism of social organization and control. Boys and girls learn different models of love relationships according to customs and traditions, which respond to a model of ethics and morals within a given culture, which in turn imposes relational patterns. Boys defend their autonomy, while girls give up their own as a token of love.

This renunciation is linked to the model of motherhood, which is also patriarchal, as the ultimate goal of femininity. Numerous childhood stories support this type of love: the prince satisfies social purposes (public sphere), then returns together with his princess, rescued from poverty, confinement or enchantment, who takes care of the house private). A rather elementary scheme, which fortunately also has its counter-model in children’s literature.

At the moment, many women do not think of motherhood as the main goal of their life, they are more inclined towards free unions, they do not submit to pre-established models and they react by breaking the predominant stereotypes of behavior.

Shakira is the emerging woman of a group of women who don’t get so much visibility, but who join the flow to choose a freer life, without conditioning and with other goals. More and more women are reflecting on the way they love and relate to others. The role of a woman within society is a model to be deconstructed and analyzed in order to make changes and achieve other objectives, different from those imposed by tradition.

The economic issue is much more delicate. When Shakira sings “las mujeres no lloran, las mujeres“ facturan ”, she brings to the table a theme that is masculine par excellence. For a woman, is it wrong to invoice? Does it hurt the obscene amount Shakira has billed for just three songs in which she refers to her ex, and she even mentions him? To women ambition it is not allowed? The couple enriches men and impoverishes women. It is no coincidence that the roles are distributed in such a way inhomogeneous. It is really convenient that the task of taking care of the children falls on women, “instinct” assigned in a political way.

Shakira’s image is contradictory: disruptive and hegemonic. It’s not very feminist to compare women to watches or cars as she did in her song, but it is to present an image of empowerment personal.

With a strong capitalist imprint, he earns with his body and his private life. It aligns with the traditional portrayal of the female body exposed as an object of desire. Sex symbol, sinner, provocateur, but not dual transgressor, her female sexual liberation coexists with a discourse closer to the romantic tradition. Her family life is supported by a version of a traditional mother and wife.

His renunciation for love emerges from the family videos published by Shakira herself. She has no secrets from the public: she shows herself authentic in her duality; she responds in love to romantic canons and turns, annoyed, into an aggressive and irascible heroine. Her image of her exerts its influence on the whole society.

Feminist researcher and author Teresa de Lauretis says:

“En los márgenes de los discursos hegemonicos subsisten rasgos de una construcción de genero diferente. (…) The discursos de los medias de comunicación are technologies of generos because they have the power to control the field of social significance and produce, promote and implant representations of generos”.

“On the margins of hegemonic discourses, the characteristics of a different construction of gender persist. (…) Media discourses are gender technologies because they have the power to control the field of social meaning and produce, promote and institute gender representations”.

But is every female expression a symbol of feminism? It is when it empowers all of us. Shakira’s productions set trends, open new paths, copy or modify schemes that regulate women’s conduct. In her coexist a hegemonic model of femininity and contradictions that mature in her body and are represented by it.

Shakira, a Latin American woman, entrepreneur, sings a song in Spanish that mirrors an entire community of women and shows contradictions that still persist today in many societies: woman, sexually free, and woman, pillar of the family.

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