25th February 2024
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Spain’s Eurovision song ‘Zorra’ – an insult to women or defending them?

Spain’s Eurovision song entitled ‘Zorra’, which can be literally translated as an anti-female slur, such as ‘whore’ or ‘bitch’ – but it can also be interpreted as ‘vixen’ or even ‘foxy’ – is causing a storm among right-wing groups and feminists, while the socialist (PSOE) Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez says he likes it.

The song by the duo Nebulossa was chosen last Saturday as Spain’s offering for the Eurovision Song Contest in May. The music platform Spotify had it as the most viral tune in Spain and No.3 worldwide on Wednesday. But there have been critics.

The Feminist Movement of Madrid filed a complaint about the song this week with Spain’s national broadcaster, and requested its withdrawal from Eurovision, saying it insults women.

One Spanish bishop, José Ignacio Munilla, said the song ‘denigrates’ women and was evidence of a cultural crisis in Spain.

Spanish National Television (RTVE) and the duo have decided to translate the title ‘Zorra’ as ‘vixen’ in English for the contest, although the Spanish word is more commonly associated with slurs.

Nebulossa singer María Bas has argued that the song is in defence of women. Its lyrics describe how a woman is referred to as a ‘zorra’ regardless of what she does, and the song uses the word almost as a protest chant.

‘I have often felt marginalised and mistreated, and that word has accompanied me for a long time until I decided to take control and let go all I kept inside,’ Bas told state news agency Efe.

A video of the group performing the song, which includes the lyrics ‘If I go out alone, I’m the slut. If I’m having fun, I’m the sluttiest’ — can be viewed below via YouTube.

Both RTVE and the European Broadcasting Union, which organises the contest, have approved Spain’s entry.

Asked his opinion on a television show this week, Sánchez said he liked the song and joked about how right-wing critics might have preferred the anthem of the former dictatorship of Franco as Spain’s Eurovision submission.

‘Feminism can also be fun,’ he said.

Other female artists in Spain’s music industry have also defended the song, saying it’s an opportunity to reshape the meaning zorra currently has and that it’s incomprehensible that a word that’s used so often in Spain has caused such an uproar. 

‘Zorra now has another meaning, thanks for this Nebulossa,’ tweeted Angy Fernández, one of the Benidorm Fest’s other contestants.

The masculine version of zorra – zorro (fox) – can also be used to refer to men, but in this case the connotation isn’t derogatory and rather denotes that a man is cheeky or sly.


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