Mexican city of Chihuahua bans misogynist lyrics in live music venues | Global development

todayAugust 1, 2023 3

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Authorities in the north-western Mexican state of Chihuahua have banned artists from singing misogynist lyrics in live music venues.

Chihuahua, the capital city of the state, which borders the US, has passed a measure to prohibit musicians from performing songs that promote violence against women.

That means the popular Puerto Rican reggaeton star Bad Bunny, whose concert sold out in the country last year, and Mexico’s most streamed artist, Peso Pluma, a leader of the “narco ballad” genre, might not be welcome thanks to their bragging and misogynistic lyrics.

Councillor Patricia Ulate from the Pan party, which introduced the reform to the municipal council, said that “harsh realities” – including serious violence against women and an enduring culture of machismo – had motivated lawmakers to act last week against the promotion of gender violence.

Transgressors face a fine of up to £55,000 (1.2m pesos), with money raised donated to municipal women’s programmes and domestic violence shelters. Legislators insisted that the law was not intended to target any particular musical genre.

“Chihuahua is one of the five municipalities in the state with a gender alert, declared due to high rates of structural violence against women,” said Ulate, the head of the city commission on women, families and gender equality. “Any action that contributes to eradicating these circumstances counts.”

Peso Pluma is Mexico’s most streamed artist. Photograph: NortePhoto/Alamy

The amendment to licensing laws will apply to events regulated by the municipality. Reported domestic abuse in the city has been steeply rising.

The municipality mayor, Marco Bonilla, said financial penalties would be imposed on “whoever [sings] songs that promote violence against women”. He called such violence a “pandemic”, with seven out of every 10 calls to city police related to violence within the family. Live music which objectified and sexualised women would be considered violence, said Bonilla.

The Mexican president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, last month affirmed the right of musicians to “sing whatever they want” but criticised artists who glorify violence and drug use. “We are not going to remain silent when they say that [ecstasy pills] are good and that they have a 50-calibre weapon, and that their idols are the most famous drug traffickers.”

The Chihuahua state congressman, Francisco Sánchez, from the Citizens’ Movement party, spoke out against the ban as “useless and retrograde”. He told local media: “It threatens freedom and even runs counter to article 6 of the constitution that defends the manifestation of ideas.”

In 2015, the city of 1 million people banned the playing of music advocating crime at public events. A popular band in Mexico, Los Tigres del Norte, was fined 500,000 pesos (£23,000) in 2017 after performing songs about drug trafficking.

Cancún, a popular tourist destination on the east coast that has been the site of cartel violence, took measures in May to ban concerts featuring lyrics promoting violence.

Ciudad Juárez is the largest city by population in Chihuahua state, and became notorious for systemic sexual femicide. Veronica Corchado, a women’s rights advocate in the city, has said: “The reality is that we have a gender violence problem that cannot be unseen … [Women have to] be part of political decision-making on an everyday basis so women can have better opportunities, a voice, an opinion about political aspects on everyday issues.”

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Written by: Soft FM Radio Staff

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